Government Red Tape Delays the COVID-19 Response

At least some unnecessary regulations are finally being waived.


Coronavirus is frightening.

I'm working from home, practicing "social distancing." Experts say it'll help "flatten the curve" so fewer people will be infected simultaneously. Then hospitals won't be overwhelmed.

But the infection rate grows. Doctors and hospitals may yet be overwhelmed.

It didn't have to get to this point.

COVID-19 deaths leveled off in South Korea.

That's because people in Korea could easily find out if they had the disease. There are hundreds of testing locations—even pop-up drive-thru testing centers.

Because Koreans got tested, Korean doctors knew who needed to be isolated and who didn't. As a result, Korea limited the disease without mass quarantines and shortages.

Not in America. In America, a shortage of COVID-19 tests has made it hard for people to get tested. Even those who show all the symptoms have a difficult time.

Why weren't there enough tests?

Because our government insists on control of medical innovation.

That's the topic of my new video.

When the new coronavirus appeared, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made its own tests and insisted that people only use those CDC tests. But the CDC test often gave inaccurate results. Some early versions of the test couldn't distinguish between the new coronavirus and water.

Private companies might have offered better tests, and more of them, but that wasn't allowed. The World Health Organization even released information on how to make such tests, but our government still said no. Instead, all tests must go through the government's cumbersome approval process. That takes months. Or years.

Hundreds of labs had the ability to test for the virus, but they weren't allowed to test.

As a result, doctors can't be sure exactly where outbreaks are happening. Instead of quarantining just sick people, state governors are forcing entire states to go on lockdown.

At the same time, many people who show no symptoms do have COVID-19. Without widespread testing, we don't know who they are, and so the symptomless sick are infecting others.

A few weeks ago, the government finally gave up its monopoly and said it was relaxing the rules. There would be quick "emergency use authorizations" replacing the months- or years-long wait for approval. But even that took so long that few independent tests were approved.

So President Donald Trump waived those rules, too.

Now tests are finally being made. But that delay killed people. It's still killing people.

Other needlessly repressive rules prevented doctors and hospitals from trying more efficient ways to treat patients.

For example, telemedicine allows doctors and patients to communicate through the internet. When sick people consult doctors from home, they don't pass on the virus in crowded waiting rooms.

But lawyers and bureaucrats claimed such communications wouldn't be "secure," and would violate patients' privacy.

Only last week did officials announce they would allow doctors to "serve patients through everyday communications technologies."

Americans shouldn't have to ask permission to use "everyday" technologies.

Now doctors fear that as more people get sick, hospitals won't have enough beds for the critically ill.

But the bed shortage is another consequence of bad law. Critical access hospitals in rural areas are not allowed to have more than 25 beds. Trump has now announced that he's waiving those rules.

In some states, there's a shortage of doctors or nurses. That, too, is often a product of bad law—state licensing laws that make it illegal for professionals licensed in one state to work in another. Trump said he would waive "license requirements so that the doctors from other states can provide services to states with the greatest need." Then it turned out that he could only allow that for Medicare; he didn't have the power to override stupid state licensing rules.

Fortunately, many states finally waived harmful licensing laws on their own.

It's good that governments finally removed some rules.

But the time that took killed people.

Once COVID-19 passes, America should leave those regulations waived.

And we should repeal many others.


NEXT: Trump Is Right To Worry About the Cost of Aggressive COVID-19 Control Measures

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. All good points and timely.

    As soon as possible I would add FDA insistence on randomized trials to approve on-label uses on COVID-19 of hydroxychloroquine, chloroquine, and hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin, despite timely completed tests by highly-competent doctors. Initial results suggest that nearly all deaths due to doctors choosing to not prescribe these medicines off-label, due to doctors in trials delaying use until crossing some compassionate-care threshold, and due to randomized test protocols withholding these medications from half the people enrolled, will trace back to their root causes being the FDA. Despite all errors to date, we are still within the window of opportunity to make these looming errors highly visible, change these actions, and save most of the lives that could have been saved with immediate saturation off-label use.

    1. But…but what about people like the couple in Louisiana that took a product they were using for their fish tank that sounded exactly what Trump mentioned. The husband died, you know.

  2. Thank goodness for Stossel.
    “When the new coronavirus appeared, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made its own tests and insisted that people only use those CDC tests. But the CDC test often gave inaccurate results.
    A few weeks ago, the government finally gave up its monopoly and said it was relaxing the rules. There would be quick “emergency use authorizations” replacing the months- or years-long wait for approval. But even that took so long that few independent tests were approved.
    So President Donald Trump waived those rules, too.”

    Finally the truth, and pretty much the opposite of the garbage Binion, ENB and Boehm have been peddling here.

  3. A rare Reason article that can be recommended to others.

  4. Several commenters here have squawked that the bug isn’t as bad as the flu since we often have 100 deaths per day from the flu. Take note, yesterday we had over 200 deaths from the bug. And we have just begun to die.

    As the medical pros have predicted, the virus is starting to overwhelm healthcare capacity. What say you now?

    1. I say it looks like you’re cheering for people to die so you can be “right” about something.


    2. Life goes on. For the record, I didn’t make a prediction since I am overwhelming unqualified.

    3. And we have just begun to die.

      Your first living breath is also your first dying breath.

    4. Weird how that will happen when we massively expand testing. We’ve just been missing the cases all winter without noticing, but now everybody in the media is apparently just figuring out that old sick people die during flu season.

  5. Stossel is an anarchist! He doesn’t want any rules! Anarchist!

    Right lc?

    1. Poor sarcasmic. He doesn’t know the difference between limited rules of Libertarians and NO rules.

      He really needs to lay off the sauce.

      1. Lmao! Says the guy who calls me an anarchist because he can’t comprehend the difference between laws of society and legislation, and lacks the ability to comprehend a Nolan Chart! You are a certified moron.

      2. And you still don’t understand the difference between libertarian and Libertarian. Dude…. Lay off the stupid pills. Really.

      3. And why do you always refer to me in the third person? Who are you talking to?

      4. sarcasmic knows the difference. He’s being dishonest, not ignorant. Stossel said “America should leave those regulations waived”, which sarcasmic misrepresents as “He doesn’t want any rules! Anarchist!”
        Par for the course for a leftie here though, because that’s how they earn their fifty-cents.

        1. I do think it’s funny, sarcasmic posted 3 times in a row.

          Early morning drunken stupor.

        2. It’s hyperbole, not dishonesty. Look at my name. That’s not the name of someone who is serious all the time. Jeez. Lighten up Francis.

        3. sarcasmic is supposed to be sarcastic one day, supposed to be funny a different day, supposed to defend unreason every day.

          He’s a jack-off-of-all-trades.

          1. Why the third person dude? You too much of a pussy to talk to me directly? You fancy yourself so far above me that you won’t lower yourself to having direct conversation? I think it’s a combination of both.

          2. I’d rather be a jack-of-all-trades than a jack-off.

          3. Poor sarcasmic. He needs to clear the semen out of his eyes to see that he IS a jack-off.

            1. That was almost funny. How would that happen? Squirting cum into my face or something? I dunno. You’re the one who imagined it. You tell me. In the third person of course.

              Hey dill-hole, comment on the Mask article if you dare. There is a great example of how legislation and law aren’t the same. That was our first conversation, the one where you branded me an anarchist and when I discovered you’re an insufferable dick.

              Go ahead. Take a look. Call me an anarchist again. Or is it nanarchist? You confuse me sometimes.

              And lay off the porn. It’s polluting your mind.

            2. HAHA. sarcasmic doesnt even know what a Jack-off is or how he entire being is semen flying through the air. So shapeless, so stupid.

              One purpose – To create babies or lawyers.

              1. Poor sock troll. unreason staff sure are desperate.

  6. Good on Trump for taking on over-regulation! But this is just a start… The tiniest of baby steps, and a day late, and a dollar short!

    Super-Trump, where are you now?
    When everything’s gone wrong somehow?
    The Top Men are losing control by the hour!

    WHEN, oh WHEN, will Super-Trump and the Top Men allow me some cheap-plastic-flute freedom?

    To find precise details on what NOT to do, to avoid the flute police, please see … This has been a pubic service, courtesy of the Church of SQRLS!

  7. Scientists say the coronavirus is not mutating quickly and might respond to a single vaccine

    Peter Thielen, a molecular geneticist at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, told The Washington Post that the strains of the virus infecting people in the U.S. have only about four to 10 genetic variations between the strain that emerged in Wuhan, China.

    “That’s a relatively small number of mutations for having passed through a large number of people,” he told the newspaper. “At this point the mutation rate of the virus would suggest that the vaccine developed for SARS-CoV-2 would be a single vaccine, rather than a new vaccine every year like the flu vaccine.”

  8. Coronavirus found on Diamond Princess surfaces 17 days later

    The coronavirus “was identified on a variety of surfaces in cabins of both symptomatic and asymptomatic infected passengers up to 17 days after cabins were vacated on the Diamond Princess but before disinfection procedures had been conducted,” according to the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

    However, the report stressed that the research “cannot be used to determine whether transmission occurred from contaminated surfaces” and whether the traces were active enough to get anyone sick.
    More than 700 of the ship’s 3,700 passengers and crew later tested positive for the coronavirus, the study says.

    Even with this news, only 700 of 3,700 passengers tested positive, which is promising news and points to a fact that this virus is NOT as transmittable as the hysteria would have you believe.

    1. Yes. And packed together breathing the same recirculating air, eating in a common dining area, even shaking hands and hugging once in awhile. And about 3,000 people didn’t get anything at all.

  9. LA County Sheriff orders gun stores to close; adds 1,300 deputies to patrol

    “We will be closing them, they are not an essential function,” Villanueva said. “I’m a supporter of the 2nd amendment, I’m a gun owner myself, but now you have the mixture of people that are not formerly gun owners and you have a lot more people at home and anytime you introduce a firearm in a home, from what I understand from CDC studies, it increases fourfold the chance that someone is gonna get shot.

    Who called that these treasonous government bastards would try to prevent Americans from exercising their 2nd Amendment rights?

    Sheriff Villanueva is a disgrace. I would definitely be driving my APCs around LA County if I lived there fucking with those cops.

  10. I was able to score tests online super cheap. Ordered it and had 5 of them delivered in two days. Selling the extra 2 for a profit to cover my costs. You pee on it and if it shows a minus you’re good. If you have a plus then you’re infected. The wife and I are good, but our daughter got a plus so she’s infected. Sad. She’s only 13.

      1. She’s been vomiting in the morning for a few weeks now. Other than that she was fine though. No fever or sore throat.

        1. Lol

        2. That’s not coronavirus – that’s morning sickness.

          1. That was the joke, dummy. Jeez.

    1. You should have quarantined her a few months ago. Or at least extreme social distancing.

    2. It should resolve itself in a few months, maybe 7 or so?

  11. FDA Approves Use of Blood From Survivors to Treat COVID-19

    The FDA on Tuesday approved use of blood plasma from people who have survived COVID-19 to treat the most serious cases of the disease until a vaccine or other treatment can be developed.

    1. There’s a vampirism joke in there somewhere.

      1. Blood Boy jokes too.

  12. Some early versions of the test couldn’t distinguish between the new coronavirus and water.

    I can’t distinguish between cheap vodka and paint thinner.

  13. I am making 10,000 Dollar at home own laptop .Just do work online 4 to 6 hour proparly . so i make my family happy and u can do……..  …..  Read More

  14. It’s a ruse. Promoted & exploited by systemic corruption. Indeed, neglect & negligence occurring as harmful than COV-19 ruse with injustice & harm deeming as elective without appropriate consult & acknowledgement when life-threatening disabling painful conditions require treatment. While the COV-19 ruse exploited & rife with deliberate fraud & misdiagnoses. Abuse & dishonesty worse than ever in era of decadence. Even more dire has long been a dearth of actually decent physicians while insurance & admin parasites have exploited illness, injury, & misfortune. Evade public revenue obligations & taxes yet immoral health can’t undeservedly indulged with bail-outs, subsidies, kick-backs, yet evade accountability. Especially with neglect, negligent, incompetent, fraudulent, dishonest, systemic corruption rife in ScAmerika health can’t. While the COV-19 ruse exploited & rife with deliberate fraud & misdiagnoses. Worse than ever in era of decadence.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.