“If we do things almost perfectly, we could get in the range of 100,000 to 200,000 fatalities.” – Dr. Deborah Birx (The Today Show, March 30, 2020)
The other night I viewed a political ad from the Biden campaign regarding his “plan” for combating COVID-19. The ad was devoid of any substance, so I visited the Biden campaign website to see the plan for myself. I immediately had a “deja vu all over again” moment.
Any plan must respect that we are a federalist system and historical precedence has long established states and local municipalities should lead. This process was reaffirmed by the woefully overrated 68-page Biden-Obama Administration Pandemic Playbook created after the botched response to the H1N1 outbreak. A fact confirmed by Biden advisor Ron Klain when he stated: “We did every possible thing wrong… It is purely a fortuity that this isn’t one of the great mass casualty events in American history.”
When this began, we were dealing with the unknown of what exactly COVID-19 was. During an interview Jan. 21, 2020, Dr. Anthony Fauci stated: “Well, obviously you need to take it seriously and do the kinds of things that the CDC and the Department of Homeland Security are doing. But this is not a major threat for people in the United States. This is not something that the citizens of the United States right now should be worried about.”
A few weeks later Fauci projected the U.S. death toll could range from 1.6 million to 2.2 million if the country did “nothing” to contain the outbreak. Neither the predicted high infection nor high fatality rates hold up under scrutiny.
Our elected representatives, as well as the media, were consumed with the impeachment of President Trump. Attacking Trump allowed Democrats and the press to take their eyes off the pandemic.
Biden’s plan promises to “develop and deploy rapid tests.” Too late. Even after the disastrous CDC launch of test kits, a failure attributed to long-standing sloppy practices at the CDC, which predate Trump, the Trump administration has performed more tests than all but three nations.
According to the CDC, the U.S. has performed over 140 million tests to date (and is in the top 5 by performing 3.1 per thousand daily), second highest of any country. The U.S. is on track to complete 200 million tests by the end of the year. Sadly, this is something our national media is not sharing with the public. Why?”
Biden’s plan states “a coordinated, country-wide, future-facing national effort to acquire, produce and distribute PPE, test kits and machines, lab supplies, and other critical supplies, including by fully utilizing the authorities” using the Defense Production Act. Again, too late.
The Trump administration invoked the Defense Production Act (DPA) in early March, but also personally reached out to companies that had the capacity to rapidly shift to manufacturing for required supplies like PPE, testing kits, and ventilators. The administration effectively utilized the DPA to ensure more tests and PPE were delivered to critical needs areas. Owens & Minor, 3M, Honeywell and other companies produced tens of millions of N95 face masks for front line medical personnel and first responders. Companies like New Balance, Ford, Medtronic, GM (to name just a few) retrofitted plants to produce ventilators and PPE.
The Trump administration utilized the DPA when necessary, but also successfully worked with businesses that were willing to help and had the capacity to meet the task at hand. Merely ordering ill-prepared, understaffed and ill-equipped private companies to start “making stuff” just for the sake of looking busy is nothing more than a feel-good measure that would not have solved anything, and most likely would have created unneeded distractions.
The Biden Plan claims they would “ramp up the large-scale manufacturing of as many vaccine candidates as necessary.” Brilliant idea, and one already achieved by the Trump administration. As part of the Trump administration’s “Operation Warp Speed,” in early spring HHS issued a $600 million-plus contract to Emergent BioSolutions. The federal government and Emergent BioSolutions partnership provided unprecedented coordination with vaccine developers to ensure a focused ramping up of manufacturing capacity.
The Trump administration aggressively worked with Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca, and the National Institutes of Health to ensure hundreds of millions of dosages will be ready to dispense as soon as the vaccines are ready for the public. The administration partnered with two of the largest national pharmacies, CVS and Walgreens, to rapidly deploy the vaccine to the public, while the states are preparing to use key National Guard units to assist (just as they used these units early in the pandemic).
Journalist Don McNeil (New York Times) recently reported Operation Warp Speed (the Trump administration’s effort to product a vaccine and other medical treatments to combat COVID-19) appears to have been working with “remarkable efficiency.”
Biden’s plan also discussed establishing “stand-up multi-hundred-bed temporary hospitals in any city” in need using the military. In March, the Pentagon pushed back on this. However, some states, like New Hampshire, using a sounder plan, utilized their National Guard units to establish field hospitals, which in most cases were not utilized.
The Trump administration did deploy the hospital ships USNS Comfort and USNS Mercy to hot zones to render aid. The ships were not utilized by New York City and Los Angeles. In March, FEMA set up a field hospital at the Javits Center in NYC, which also went largely unused and closed in May. Starting at the end of March, federal disaster medical assistance teams also were deployed to hospitals throughout the country.
Mistakes were made at every level (local, state, regional, federal and beyond our borders). Trump’s communication style did not match the success his administration achieved. From a purely analytical examination, we need to listen less to the rhetoric and look more to the actions.
Biden would apply the heavy hand of the federal government to dictate what local municipalities should do in the form of denying local government pandemic funding, denying cities and states funding based on a “one size fits all” approach.
According to a recent study by Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, Biden’s post pandemic tax and regulatory plan would seriously hurt the economy overall. Biden’s economic interventions would distort labor incentives, kill jobs (leading to 4.9 million fewer jobs), and decrease productivity (with the economy shrinking by $2.6 trillion). Additionally, families would see a $6,500 drop in median household income and consumption would be $1.5 trillion lower than current pace.
Biden’s plan would repeat what has been achieved, while his post-pandemic economic plan would cripple our economy. Biden is correct in that he has a plan. The first part is to plagiarize Trump’s plan, and the other part is to destroy the economy.