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Coronavirus is proof that US not ready for a serious disaster

OPINION BY TOM DEL BECCARRO|FOX NEWS

How long will the coronavirus crisis continue?

No one can say for sure, but the experience indicates one thing is for certain: America is not ready for a major national crisis, such as the failure of an electrical grid a bioterrorist crisis or worse.  The silver lining of the coronavirus pandemic and the economic loss it involves, however, could be that wise leaders stop using government to buy votes and instead prepare for us future crises.

A month ago, a Fox News headline read: How dangerous is coronavirus? At the time, “an estimated 75,000 people have been sickened globally and some 2,000 have died, leading to questions of just how alarmed the public should be.” Those numbers have significantly increased and, with the recent news that even world leaders have come down with the virus, fear itself is becoming wide-ranging

In tourist capitals of the world such as Florence, Italy, the streets are deserted.

In the United States, hoarding has suddenly become commonplace. Seemingly everywhere, major retailers are subject to scenes of people searching out bottled water and finding empty toilet paper shelves. Meanwhile, major industries are literally shutting down, like the entire sports world.

Not long ago, California was hit by major power outages as its main energy provider, PG&E, shut down power in response to wind and fire. During the process, huge numbers of people not only were literally in the dark, but they were hard-pressed to get reliable information from public officials. Why? Because during an extended outage, without electricity, not only do televisions and radios not work, cell phones – America’s prevailing communication device – don’t work either.

As bad the coronavirus is, in plain truth, much worse problems are possible for the United States. The country’s electrical grid is precarious and interconnected. It is quite vulnerable to foreign attack, and leading providers, like PG&E, have their database administration in India.

Experts know that if portions of the grid failed or were disabled by an attack, huge portions of the country could be in the dark for weeks or possibly months. Those companies with their databases in foreign countries would, to say the least, have a difficult time accessing the Internet.

We have real vulnerabilities with respect to the very infrastructure of America and critical drugs. It is time our government secures our safety before it is too late.

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