military transport planes to get oxygen to the sick.

If enough money were available, governments and international groups could have advance-purchase agreements with bulk suppliers, and emergency stores of oxygen could be stationed in various parts of the world and deployed as needed.

If nothing else, the last few months have made clear the difficulty of trying to increase oxygen supplies on short notice, amid a crisis.

Instead, Mr. Matiru said, the world should invest in preparation, “so that if there’s a surge we can press ‘Go.’”

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