The Postal Service’s Surprising Role in Surviving Doomsday

Congress raised concerns this week that the ongoing Covid-19 crisis—and the resulting “critical fall-off in mail” volumes across the sheltering-in-place country—might bankrupt the United States Postal Service in a matter of weeks. “A halt in Postal Service operations could have grave consequences across the country,” two senior members of the House warned on Monday, saying it could be out of money by June.

While Congress said it was most concerned about the Postal Service’s critical role in delivering medicine across the country during the unfolding pandemic—it handled about a billion shipments of prescription drugs last year—the nation’s mail carriers potentially have an even more critical role to play in health emergencies.

If and when a mass vaccine finally arrives for Covid-19, Americans may be surprised to learn precisely who might knock at their door to distribute the life-saving aid: A mask-clad, gloved postal carrier, flanked by a deputy sheriff or National Guard soldier.

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