Prudent people take necessary precautions against known risks. COVID-19 is the third coronavirus in the last 20 years to cause or threaten a deadly pandemic, with economic damage costing trillions, incurred in order to avoid even worse economic destruction and loss of life.

Yet our State Sen. Kristina Roegner has no recommendation to offer, besides individual common sense precautions. Instead she cites "the incredible economic cost" including that added to the national debt, as a reason to get people back to work in her April 26 guest column. When politicians want to sound serious they talk about the national debt.

The fact is, when Congress passed the CARES Act late March it made no provision for offsetting stimulus relief. It instructed the Treasury to create money and give it to Americans. There is no debt owed. (The CARES Act may later impact revenue.)

What the CARES Act's passage also made clear is that if Congress has the political will and motivation it can allocate enormous sums to solve huge problems, without regard to debt.

Which implies that for a few dozens of billions of dollars a year, Congress could, and should authorize a national pandemic agency, tasked with purchasing and maintaining equipment, facilities, and personnel, to deliver to the nation a coordinated response, to prevent trillions in damages and save thousands of lives, for the next pandemic or natural disaster, that will surely come.

It would take roughly a century for the cost of prevention to equal the damage caused by COVID-19 thus far.

Planning for the next disaster is more prudent than saying "Wash your hands and get back to work."

Michael Silver, Hudson