USPS keeps mail moving

From Staff Reports

   It seems that only one thing is certain so far concerning the six confirmed cases of anthrax in New York, Washington D.C., and Florida -- the method of delivery chosen by the terrorist(s). In all cases exposure to the bacteria was linked to envelopes delivered through the U.S. Mail.
   On Thursday, the FBI and the United States Postal Service offered a $1 million reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone mailing anthrax.
   But what else can the USPS do to protect the general public and its own employees from exposure to the potentially deadly bacteria while continuing to ship 680 million parcels daily -- dropped in thousands of blue boxes nationwide?
   Katrina Chalmers, an inspector for the USPS in Memphis, said Wednesday that since the second case of anthrax was reported at NBC Studios in New York, the service has begun to thoroughly enforce all security regulations -- such as checking security badges and locking down trucks once they leave the postal compound -- but that no new security measures had yet been implemented.
   Postal workers are provided with gloves and masks if they request them, Chalmers said.
   Yesterday, Postmaster General John E. Potter issued a press release stating that the Postal Service is working closely with FBI and Health and Human Services Investigators. However, Potter also stated that the main objective of the USPS is to keep the mail and the economy moving in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks.
   Having delivered over 20 billion packages since Sept. 11 -- less than a handful of which were contaminated -- it seems that just keeping the mail moving may be all we can or should expect the USPS to do.