USPS is already an essential service, delivering vital goods during this time of social distancing and shelter-in-place. The Postal Service might, however, have a greater role in the American defense against Coronavirus. The Postal Plan assigns a vital role to USPS in a possible response to Covid-19 doomsday.
USPS is Losing Money as Covid-19 Continues to Spread, Which is a Huge Problem
In the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic, it seems that mail volumes have decreased significantly for USPS. This sudden drop in volume has the potential to bankrupt USPS, which would leave service at a standstill across the country.
If USPS halts service, America would be facing a grim future. During this pandemic, the agency has been critical in delivering medications and supplies to Americans. The Postal Service is an essential operation that Americans depend on during this time of social distancing and shelter-in-place orders. However, this isn’t the only reason why we need the Postal Service. If the world comes down to it, USPS may be America’s last line of defense in preventing a doomsday scenario.
The Postal Plan in Response to Doomsday
USPS has always had a role in American doomsday planning, surprisingly enough. Historically, the Postal Service was trained to track the dead and displaced if the Cold War ever came to a nuclear head. This measure came along with plans to create “Emergency Casualty Carriers” out of mail trucks.
Now, our projected doomsday is that of biological threats, so the Postal Service’s role is a little bit different. To this point, the Obama administration passed Executive Order 13527: Medical Countermeasures Following A Biological Attack. The plan to have postal carriers on the front lines is clearly laid out in the order:
“The task for the USPS is to deploy USPS carrier volunteers to deliver antibiotics to residents at the outset of a catastrophic incident, using the inherent efficiency of the USPS infrastructure.”
This “Postal Plan” would essentially be a response to these possible biological threats that we plan for in modern society. In 2004, the Bush administration tested the Postal Plan in 21 cities. The Department of Homeland Security’s goal was to ensure that USPS could distribute vital materials to the nation quickly and efficiently. The trial proved the Postal Service’s ability to carry out their crucial role and because of their success, the Executive Order states that:
“The US Postal Service has the capacity for rapid residential delivery of medical countermeasures for self-administration across all communities in the United States.”
Although not a biological threat, the Coronavirus pandemic might lead us to use the Postal Plan.
USPS Set to Deliver Coronavirus Vaccines
If called to action, the Postal Service would be responsible for delivering a vaccine for Covid-19 to Americans. If this plan is ever put into action, all services to the affected region or regions would be suspended. Each postal worker and volunteer would first go through medical testing before serving the public.
Once cleared, workers fitted with the necessary protections would deliver the vaccine amid this pandemic. Law enforcement would further protect the postal workers and volunteers as they deliver the necessary goods to the affected areas. In this plan, the Department of Health and Human Services would pay for this service from USPS. This would occur through the Stafford Act, where emergency disaster funds would cover a federal response to those crises.
Since the vaccine may take over a year to develop, the Postal Plan for Covid-19 doomsday seems a little far off. However, it remains important to understand how this pandemic might end, and the Postal Service might just have a hand in it.