Coronavirus: The most expensive disaster of our lifetime

By Troy Torres

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As of the writing of this piece, the Joint Information Center for the COVID-19 disaster response had just issued JIC RELEASE No. 579 - Results: Four of 90 Test Positive for COVID-19. Among other things, that title indicates the JIC has written at least and issued 579 news releases to the public. No other JIC in the history of emergency response operations on Guam has ever issued even one-fifth that number of news releases.

Our hats aren't just off to the fewer than five people who comprise that JIC, but to the exponential number more who have also worked this emergency response. Think about it: if there were 579 reasons and occasions to explain significant actions taken, goals achieved, or failures explained, imagine the number of people involved in each of those reasons and occasions throughout the disaster. Surmise how much money it all cost.

Car crashes cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage. A house fire could set you back a few hundred thousand. But an act of God - like a typhoon or an earthquake - causes hundreds of millions of dollars in damage, not to mention the invaluable cost of life.

Supertyphoon Pongsona had a $720 million price tag for repairs. Of course, we couldn'