Oath Keepers Emergency Open Letter to the State Governors on Fighting the Coronavirus
To the State Governors of the United States:
We speak to you as military, police, fire-fighters, EMS, and other first responders who are committed to preserving our Constitution and to preserving the lives of the American people. We urge you to be proactive, rather than reactive (as respected UK epidemiologist Dr. John Campbell has been urging for weeks). We urge you to look at Italy to see what is coming. Recognize that this is a highly contagious, airborne virus that is a threat to the life of every American, that WILL overwhelm existing emergency medical services and hospitals, just as it did in Italy.
And then treat this like a mass casualty event and take the following decisive and effective steps to lessen, limit, contain, and mitigate the spread of the Coronavirus in your state, within the bounds of the Constitution, and to provide effective care to those who are infected to lessen the loss of life:
A. Declare a pandemic health emergency in your state.
B. Shut down all public schools in your state to limit the spreading of the virus, and call on private schools to voluntarily cancel in-person classes. Call on schools to arrange online education for students. Presume you already have community spread throughout your state and be PROACTIVE, not reactive (i.e. shut down schools before you have sick students rather than after. Shutting down schools after you see confirmed cases of infected students in a school is too late because of the asymptomatic incubation period, and because some are asymptomatic carriers who never show symptoms but still infect others – they just spread the disease).
C. Call on the people of your state to suspend or cancel all large public gatherings, including church services (which should be conducted over the internet).
D. Call up your State National Guard and your state defense force/state guard (for example, in Texas it would be the Texas State Guard as well as the Texas National Guard) to assist during this health emergency.
E. Formally request that President Trump declare a national emergency and request that the President deploy Army Reserve and Navy Reserve hospital units to your state to set up field hospitals to provide additional ICU facilities for confirmed Coronavirus cases. As we see in Italy, local hospitals will be quickly overrun – essentially a “Broken Arrow” scenario. Expect it, and prepare for it. Have field hospitals ready to handle the overflow. And those must be able to handle ARDS (Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome) which is essentially lungs filled with fluid, even worse than pneumonia.
F. Act now to outfit the civilian hospitals in your state with the resources they need to increase the number of ICU beds, respirators, negative air pressure rooms, additional oxygen, and other essential equipment and supplies they need to treat large numbers of ARDS cases from a highly contagious virus. Again, look to Italy to understand what is coming and prepare now, in advance by being proactive, rather than reactive.
G. Use all available state resources to provide extra protective gear, masks, filters, etc to hospital staff to protect them while they treat a large influx of Coronavirus patients. The field hospitals will need the same. In addition, provide effective personal protective equipment for ALL first responders in your state, i.e. law enforcement, Fire, EMS, search and rescue, etc., as well as protective equipment for your National Guard and state defense force or other volunteer first responders. Prepare now to resupply them over a long period of time.
H. Set up a Coronavirus hotline to each county health department that people of each county can call. Instruct people to NOT go to emergency rooms or doctor’s office if they want to be tested (which only spreads the disease). Instead, instruct them to stay home and call the hotline. This virus is AIRBORNE and highly infectious, especially in enclosed spaces. Anyone walking into an emergency room, clinic or doctor’s office can either spread it to others, or contract it from others in that enclosed space. They must not do so unless they are in immediate danger of death from some other cause (i.e. heart attack, life threatening injury, etc.). See below for recommendations on outdoor screening areas for those who do come to hospitals.
I. Equip the county health department, National Guard, state defense force/guard and other emergency personnel with testing kits and protective gear so they can work together and send out teams to test people who call into the hotline. The Army Reserve and Navy Reserve medical units can assist with this work.
J. Set up drive through testing stations like South Korea is doing. That would work well in high population urban areas (testing teams could be overwhelmed if they have to go to homes to test people who call the hotline in a large urban area). You should still have mobile testing teams who can go to the homes of people who do not own a vehicle or otherwise cannot travel for some reason.
Doing the above will reduce the load on existing local medical infrastructure and lessen the risk of spreading the virus.
K. Prepare to deal with the reality that some people will STILL try to walk into the local hospital emergency room. Assist local hospitals in setting up an outdoors, open air testing and screening area in the parking lot of the hospital that people will have to go through first, before being brought into the hospital, so they reduce the risk of infection by people entering the emergency room. DO NOT have possible Coronavirus infected people in a confined space, like an emergency room or indoor clinic, mixed with others. Screen and test them outdoors.
Overhead protection from rain is fine, but keep it open air, as it is now confirmed that the Coronavirus is airborne, and therefore enclosed spaces will only speed contagion.
Keep people at least nine feet apart while they wait outdoors to be tested. Provide them all with masks to minimize spread by those who are possibly infected. All testing personnel must be in protective suits with full face masks and effective filters.
L. Make sure your local hospitals can process the tests without having to send them to the CDC.
M. Governors of border states must use all available resources to prevent illegal crossing into their state from Mexico, by any and all lawful means at their disposal. Otherwise infected people WILL cross over in waves because they will want our superior medical care. Expect it.
Again, be proactive. Use your leadership to show the people of your state how serious this really is. And your actions will prompt President Trump to also take decisive action within the bounds of the Constitution to do all he can as well. We urge you to work with him in doing what must be done, but we also urge you to NOT rely solely on the CDC for advice, as the CDC has not been providing complete information (for example, CDC has not been telling you that this virus is airborne), and has not been effectively advising you or the President on what must actually be done to lessen the spread (such as closing all schools, all large gatherings, and shutting down all mass transportation of people – airlines, buses, trains, subways, etc). Again, look to Italy, South Korea, and other nations that have learned hard lessons, and follow their examples by taking decisive action now.
God save our Republic.
Photo: hospital in Italy
NOTE to our members and supporters, from Oath Keepers Founder, Stewart Rhodes:
Oath Keepers and patriots, these are the times that try men’s souls, when it comes to how we all respond to this crisis. It is critical that we lead the way in showing what must be done within the bounds of our national Constitution and our state constitutions. We cannot, and will not, sacrifice liberty on the alter of security. But there is a great deal we can, and must do within those bounds. We must lead the way.
I urge you to take the above recommendations to your state governor, and to your state legislature. Also use them to inform your local town and county officials on what must be done, and what they must prepare for, now, in advance. County governments can and must do all they can to get their local hospitals and first responders geared up and prepared for what is to come, as they in turn urge their state leaders to likewise do all they can to prepare, including providing emergency funding. Above all, the elected town and county officials MUST provide local first responders with the protective equipment they will need to prevent becoming casualties themselves, as has happened all too often in other nations.
We will be publishing additional recommendations specifically for town and county government officials and local first responders, as well as guidance for individuals, neighborhoods, churches, and other private associations, and guidance for local volunteer groups and units who will be needed in their communities.
It is CRITICAL that those of us who have relevant training be willing, ready, and able to step up and help our local communities in this crisis, just as we have done in the past, such as with hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, or fires. This is no different when it comes to our public duty to step up and help. Yes, there is a new danger, from the virus itself, that must be dealt with. But that doesn’t change our duty.
We urge you to reach out now to your local emergency planner and your local law enforcement and first responder community to offer your assistance if you have relevant training and experience. Make sure you are helping, and not getting in their way. Coordinate with them, and volunteer.
This situation does bring with it significant dangers of becoming infected. It does your community no good at all if, in an attempt to assist, you become a casualty yourself. So you MUST have effective personal protective equipment and know how to use it before you go out to help. We will provide guidance on what kind of protective equipment you will need, and where to get it so you can work to secure your own. But please also consult your local health officials, EMS, Fire, and search and rescue personnel for their recommendations as well. Reach out to them now, before they are overwhelmed.
We urge you to secure that personal protective equipment now, especially if you have medical training or are an experienced and trained first responder (i.e., fire, search and rescue, law enforcement, or relevant training in the military such as Hazmat or NBC). You will be needed. Prepare yourselves now to step up and help. In Italy, retired doctors and nurses have been pressed back into service in large numbers. Expect the same here.
We will also do all we can to secure effective personal protection equipment for our official CPT’s (community preparedness teams) and for our field teams that will go out to help. We cannot guarantee we will have all we need for volunteers, so you must search out and secure your own equipment if at all possible. But we will do our best to also obtain the proper equipment for our members who will be serving on vetted, organized field teams, just as we have done in the past while doing disaster relief after hurricanes. Our missions will be much the same – assisting in delivery of food and water to those who are staying home (whether under formal quarantine or voluntary self-quarantine/self-isolation), in assisting with medical and wellness checks, and assisting the existing local law enforcement and emergency medical/first responder community in any way we can, and in any way they request, as we have done in the past. We have been here before. This is just a new enemy we must fight.
Prepare to do what you can, with what you have, to help your local community so they respond in a way that respects individual liberty while also effectively preserving life. It is a balance we must obtain and we cannot leave it to the politicians to do it right without our direct participation. As when we do hurricane disaster relief, set aside partisan politics and focus on the mission.
Please note, that when we criticize the CDC above, you can understand why by inserting “FEMA” in place of “CDC” and those of you who have deployed with us on hurricane operations, or were left hanging by FEMA in the wake of a disaster and saw how incompetent FEMA is, will understand why we don’t trust the CDC either, when it comes to doing the right thing in a timely manner. The bureaucrats in the CDC are cut from the same cloth as the ones in FEMA. The most recent example of their failures is their refusal to acknowledge the now clearly proven reality that the Coronavirus is in fact airborne (aerosol) and can linger in the air in enclosed spaces for an extended period of time.
Frankly, President Trump would be far better off declaring an emergency, activating the Army and Navy Reserves, and then relying on the military medical experts to advise him and the nation on what to do. This is too critical a situation to screw around with career bureaucrats wasting precious time.
It is critical that we all prepare for a worst case scenario, along the lines of Northern Italy, so that we can ride this out while doing all we can to help our neighbors. Please read our written recommendations for personal preparedness and protecting yourself from the virus. In that write up you will also find additional information on why this virus is far more dangerous than a flu, and how it attacks the body.
Check back often for further advice.
For the Republic,
Stewart Rhodes, Founder of Oath Keepers