America Wasn't Ready for Coronavirus

Early takeaways from the country's response to a pandemic


In many places in the U.S., it's neither safe nor legal to conduct business right now due to the threat posed by the coronavirus pandemic (for more on this, see Editor in Chief Katherine Mangu-Ward's "The Seen and the Unseen of COVID-19"). But the damage done by the virus has been made worse by an incompetent government response, impositions on people's civil liberties, and an ongoing trade war with China. What follows is Reason's explanation of what went wrong and which rules, regulations, and parts of life people are getting the opportunity to rethink.

Red Tape Stymied Testing and Made the Coronavirus Pandemic Worse

Ronald Bailey

The United States is home to the most innovative biotech companies and university research laboratories in the world. That should have provided us with a huge advantage with respect to detecting and monitoring emerging cases of COVID-19 caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Public health officials had the opportunity to slow, if not contain, the outbreak: By tracing the contacts of diagnosed people and quarantining those who in turn tested positive, they could have severed the person-to-person chains of disease transmission.

South Korea demonstrates that such a campaign can work. While both countries detected their first cases of COVID-19 on January 20, the trajectories in the U.S. and South Korea have since sharply diverged. By the beginning of March, South Korea had "flattened the curve"—that is, substantially reduced the number of people being diagnosed each day with coronavirus infections—whereas the United States was still struggling to do so when this article went to press six weeks later.

South Korean health officials met on January 27 with private biomedical companies, urging them to develop coronavirus diagnostic tests and assuring them of speedy regulatory approval. The first commercial test was approved in that country a week later. South Korea's now-famous drive-through testing sites were soon testing tens of thousands for the virus. By the first week in March, the country had tested more than 150,000 people, compared to just 2,150 in the United States. Testing and contact tracing helped daily diagnosed cases in South Korea peak at 909 on February 29.

In stark contrast, officials at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stymied private and academic development of diagnostic tests. Much to the contrary, the CDC required that public health officials use only a diagnostic test designed by the agency. That test—released on February 5—turned out to be contaminated by a reagent that made it impossible for outside labs to tell if the virus was present in a sample or not. The CDC's insistence on top-down centralized testing meant there were no available alternatives, which greatly slowed down disease detection just as the infection rate was accelerating.

This massive bureaucratic failure is a big part of why a larger proportion of Americans than of South Koreans will suffer and die from the viral illness.

On February 29, the FDA finally moved to allow academic labs and private companies to develop and deploy their own diagnostic tests. But in the meantime, the Trump administration had begun lying about the availability of tests. On March 2, FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn declared that "by the end of this week, close to 1 million tests will be able to be performed." During a tour of CDC headquarters on March 6, President Donald Trump asserted that "anyone who wants a test can get a test." In fact, it took until the end of March for 1 million tests to be administered in the United States.

Once the FDA got out of the way, diagnostics companies LabCorp and Quest rolled out tests almost immediately. Many academic labs followed suit. Unfortunately, pent-up demand led to significant delays in reporting results.

By the end of March, companies such as Abbott Laboratories had introduced tests that report results in less than 15 minutes. But after four startups began offering at-home testing, promising to further improve access, an obstinate FDA shut them down.

The FDA has finally managed to smooth the way for private companies to begin introducing blood tests for antibodies to the virus produced by people's immune systems. General population screening using these tests will reveal undetected cases, providing a better idea of the actual extent of the pandemic. The tests will also identify people who have recovered and probably can go safely back to their lives beyond quarantine.

In the absence of effective treatments for COVID-19, testing and contact tracing on a massive scale will be vital to restoring economic activity—assuming the epidemic is beaten back, in the meantime, by social distancing. But due to red tape, the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. has turned out to be far more deadly than it could, and should, have been.


Beware 'Temporary' Emergency Restrictions on Liberty

Damon Root

State and local officials have taken sweeping emergency actions to combat the spread of COVID-19, including shelter-in-place orders, bans on large gatherings, and widespread business closures. Such measures may well fall under the traditional police powers of the states to regulate actions on behalf of public health, safety, and welfare. But even the most necessary of emergency actions may still pose a significant risk to liberty.

The U.S. experience during World War I offers a cautionary tale about how government restrictions passed in the heat of a national emergency can linger for years afterward—a lesson that must be quickly learned if we are to avoid repeating some grave mistakes in 2020.

When President Woodrow Wilson took the nation to war against Germany in 1917, he did so in the name of making the world safe for democracy. But the president also targeted certain enemies much closer to home. "There are citizens of the United States, I blush to admit," Wilson said at the time, "who have poured the poison of disloyalty into the very arteries of our national life….The hand of our power should close over them at once."

Seal Beach, California, on March 24

At Wilson's urging, Congress passed the Espionage Act of 1917, a notorious law that effectively criminalized most forms of anti-war speech. Among those snared in its net was the left-wing leader Eugene Debs, who was arrested in 1918 and sentenced to 10 years in federal prison. His crime had been to exercise his First Amendment rights by giving a mildly anti-war speech at an afternoon picnic. In 1919, the same year that the U.S. government signed the peace treaty that formally ended World War I, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Debs' conviction for speaking out against the war. Debs would rot in federal prison until he was pardoned by President Warren G. Harding in 1921. As for the Espionage Act, while it has been amended several times over the years, it remains on the books.

State governments imposed various restrictions of their own. Nebraska's legislature responded to America's entry into the Great War by cracking down on the civil liberties of its German immigrant communities. Most notably, the state banned both public and private school teachers from instructing children in a foreign language. That law was aimed directly at the state's extensive system of Lutheran parochial schools, where teachers and students commonly spoke German.

Robert Meyer, who taught the Bible in German at the Zion Evangelical Lutheran Parochial School, sued the state for violating his constitutional rights. But the Nebraska Supreme Court waved his objections away. "The salutary purpose of the statute is clear," that court said. "The legislature had seen the baleful effects of permitting foreigners, who had taken residence in this country, to rear and educate their children in the language of their native land."

The U.S. Supreme Court reversed that ruling in 1923. Thankfully, the rights of Meyer and others were ultimately restored. But the offending restriction was not eliminated until well after the war was over.

We should all be on guard to make sure that temporary COVID-19 restrictions—as necessary as they may be—remain temporary.


The Trade War Made Us Less Prepared To Handle This Crisis

Eric Boehm

President Donald Trump's trade war with China has been costly for Americans—and the COVID-19 outbreak reveals that we might be paying with more than just our money.

What's worse, the White House knew the risk it was running. "These products are essential to protecting health care providers and their patients every single day," Matt Rowan, president of the Health Industry Distributors Association, told the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative in August 2018. At the time, the office was considering a wide-ranging set of new tariffs targeting hundreds of billions of dollars' worth of annual imports from China. Among the products that would be hit with those higher duties were thermometers, breathing masks, hand sanitizer, patient monitors, and medical-grade personal protective equipment, including masks and sterile gloves. Those products "are a critical component of our nation's response to public health emergencies," Rowan warned.

Other medical professionals at the hearing similarly pleaded for the Trump administration to drop the proposed tariffs. Alternative suppliers could not be found quickly, they said, in no small part because Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval was required before other sources could be used. The likely result of Trump's proposed tariffs would be higher prices for medical gear and decreased availability of critical supplies.

The warnings went unheeded. The tariffs did what tariffs do.

In 2017, the last full year before Trump's tariffs were imposed, more than a quarter of all medical equipment imported to the U.S. came from China. By 2019, imports of Chinese-made medical products had fallen by 16 percent, according to an analysis from the Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE), a trade-focused think tank. While U.S. imports from the rest of the world increased during the same period, according to PIIE, the increase was not sufficient to offset the tariff-induced decline in imports from China. It's likely that hospitals drew down on existing inventories, hoping that the trade war would end before they had to restock.

"In many instances, Americans had no choice but to continue to buy from China, which meant paying an additional cost due to the tariff," says Chad Bown, a senior fellow at the think tank. "Medical equipment cannot instantaneously sprout up at another plant in some other country."

Trump's so-called "phase one" trade deal with China, signed in December, did not lift tariffs on medical gear. But when the coronavirus outbreak reached America, the White House finally took action. On March 10, the administration quietly dropped its tariffs on Chinese-made medical equipment in a too-little, too-late effort to allow American hospitals to stock up as the coronavirus pandemic took hold. Later in the month, the White House announced it would postpone all other tariff payments for at least three months as a form of economic stimulus.

Together, those two actions are an admission of guilt. They demonstrate that the administration is well aware that tariffs are paid by Americans—and that they harmed America's preparation for a pandemic. Trump's reversals, says Bown, serve as "an implicit indictment of his administration's own policy."

Recall that officials were warned about exactly this possibility. Their hubris and economic illiteracy may well have led to the deaths of innocent Americans.

"It reveals the foolishness of the administration's shoot-first-and-ask-questions-later approach" to the trade war, says Scott Lincicome, a trade lawyer and scholar with the Cato Institute. "There was clearly no thought given to how this would actually work in practice, and now you're seeing the consequences."


COVID-19 Makes the Case for Deregulation Everywhere You Look

Nick Gillespie

It didn't take long after the coronavirus crisis began for the smart set to write off small-government types in articles with such snarky headlines as "There Are No Libertarians in a Pandemic." By now, it seems more correct to believe there are only libertarians in a pandemic, including many public officials, who suddenly find themselves willing and able to waive all sorts of ostensibly important rules and procedures in the name of helping people out.

How else to explain the decision by the much-loathed and irrelevant-to-safety Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to allow family-sized jugs of hand sanitizer onto planes? The TSA isn't going full Milton Friedman—it's reminding visitors to its website "that all other liquids, gels and aerosols brought to a checkpoint continue to be allowed at the limit of 3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters carried in a one quart-size bag." But it's a start.

Something similar is going on in Massachusetts, a state well-known for high levels of regulation, including in the medical sector. Expecting a crush in health care needs due the coronavirus, Republican Gov. Charlie Baker has seen the light and agreed to streamline the Bay State's recognition of "nurses and other medical professionals" who are registered in other parts of the United States, something that 34 states do on a regular basis.

As Walter Olson of the Cato Institute observes, that move "should help get medical professionals to where they are most needed, and it is one of many good ideas that should be kept on as policy after the pandemic emergency passes. After Superstorm Sandy in 2012, by contrast, when storm-ravaged ocean-side homeowners badly needed skilled labor to restore their premises to usable condition, local laws in places like Long Island forbade them to bring in skilled electricians even from other counties of New York, let alone other states."

The group Americans for Tax Reform has published a list of more than 170 regulations that have been suspended in response to the current crisis: Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar has waived certain laws in order to facilitate "telehealth," or the use of videoconferencing and other technologies to allow doctors to see patients remotely; the Department of Education is making it easier for colleges and universities to move their classes online; cities are doing away with open-container restrictions and allowing home delivery of beer, wine, and spirits in places where it was previously prohibited; the Federal Emergency Management Agency belatedly permitted Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories to acquire personal protective equipment from sources outside the country; and on and on.

Fleetwood, Pennsylvania, on April 2

You can probably see where this is headed: If the policies above are worth tossing out in an emergency, maybe they ought to be sidelined during normal times too.

Situations like the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the coronavirus outbreak often open the door to naked power grabs whose terrible consequences stick around long after the events that inspired them. Governments rarely return power once they've amassed it. But if you listen carefully, you can hear them telling us which restrictions they realize can be safely tossed.

When the infection rates come down and life begins to get back to normal, it may be tempting just to go back to the way we were. Resist the temptation: Many of the rules we put up with every day are worth re-evaluating. And not only during an emergency.


The Coronavirus Stimulus Is a Crony Capitalist Dream

Elizabeth Nolan Brown

Crony capitalism triumphed as members of Congress voted in March on a massive COVID-19 response bill. The $2.3 trillion package was unanimously approved in the Senate before clearing the U.S. House of Representatives 419 to 6.

Getting the most attention in the new Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act is a stipulation that many Americans will be getting $1,200 apiece from Uncle Sam. People making less than $75,000 individually or $150,000 as a couple will receive the full amount, with prorated amounts available to single earners making up to $99,0000 and couples up to $198,000. Families with kids will get an additional $500 for every child 16 and under.

But the 880-page bill is also brimming with handouts for government-favored industries.

For airlines, the CARES Act includes a $25 billion grant plus $29 billion in loans and loan guarantees. Grant money is also available for agricultural companies, to the tune of $33.5 billion.

Government institutions—including some far removed from direct COVID-19 relief efforts—will also be getting cash infusions. For instance, the legislation includes $150 million for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. The CARES Act also inexplicably provides $10.5 billion for the Department of Defense, though only $1.5 billion of that is directed at coronavirus-related National Guard deployment, and just $415 million is for vaccine and antiviral medicine research and development by the agency.

Rep. Justin Amash (I–Mich.), one of the few in Congress to vote against the CARES Act, rightly called it "corporate welfare" that "reflects government conceit. Only consumers, not politicians, can appropriately determine which companies deserve to succeed."

Amash supports payments to individual Americans in this time of crisis but opposes the carve-outs for favored industries. If the federal government is going to spend $2 trillion, "then the best way to do it, by far, is a direct cash transfer that otherwise keeps government out of the way," Amash tweeted.

The bill has been celebrated by many Democrats and Republicans as a measure to help working Americans and ordinary people in the face of the new coronavirus. But the corporatist bent means that ordinary people will be paying more in the long run for this "help."

The total cost of the measure leaves every American "on the hook for over $6,000 in debt for these 'investments,'" commented Libertarian Party Chairman Nicholas Sarwark on Twitter, "but it's the businesses that will receive the rewards." He called the measure a "socialist" bailout for "corporate cronies."

Rep. Thomas Massie (R–Ky.) strikes a similar theme. "When we were attacked at Pearl Harbor, did we come up with a $2 trillion stimulus package, or did we declare a war on our enemies?" he asked. "We declared war on our enemies. Why have we not declared war on this virus? Why is our first instinct to make sure that the rich people get to keep all their riches?"


While Government Dithered, Private Companies and Philanthropists Swung Into Action

Scott Shackford

Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates saw the pandemic coming. In a February 28 New England Journal of Medicine article, he warned that "COVID-19 has started behaving a lot like the once-in-a-century pathogen we've been worried about." He called for public health agencies across the board to take steps to slow the virus's spread. He argued for the importance of accelerating work on treatments and vaccines.

At the same time, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was slowly—so very slowly—swinging into action. On February 4, the agency formally acknowledged the public emergency and agreed that the situation called for a quicker-than-usual response to entities seeking emergency approval for new COVID-19 diagnostic tests. Nevertheless, it took the FDA almost a whole month to provide guidance on exactly how laboratories and commercial companies could accelerate that process.

By then, private-sector leaders were already putting plans in motion. The first confirmed case of COVID-19 in the United States was in January in Washington state, where Gates' philanthropic organization, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is based. On March 10, the Gates Foundation announced a partnership with MasterCard and Wellcome, a U.K.-based research charity, to commit $125 million to a "COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator" that hoped to speed up the response by "identifying, assessing, developing, and scaling-up treatments." The private response would turn out to be critical. A group of Seattle doctors had already had to defy the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in order to implement the tests that caught the virus's arrival in America.

On the same day of the Gates Foundation announcement, the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit health policy think tank, put together a tracker showing how much private philanthropy was going into the worldwide response. The group calculated that at least $725 million had then been committed by private nonprofits, businesses, and foundations to aid in international relief efforts. Candid, a foundation that helps nonprofits and foundations connect to donors, calculated that $4.3 billion in grants had been funded by early April for coronavirus responses around the world.

Early on, much of the assistance was directed toward China. But as COVID-19 spread everywhere, so did private philanthropy and innovation. As hospitals and health providers ran out of face masks (thanks in part, again, to FDA regulations that made it hard to ramp up production in response to demand), businesses donated their unused stockpiles. Soon, the private sector was iterating novel solutions as well. Across the world, companies and crafters with access to 3D printers and sewing machines began designing and producing masks of their own.

The number of breathing devices at hospitals became one of the more dangerous chokepoints in the COVID-19 response, leading to rationing and difficult medical choices in areas with high concentrations of infections. Again, innovators went to work. In Italy, for example, volunteers reverse-engineered a respirator valve that was in short supply, began manufacturing it with a 3D printer, and donated a stock to local hospitals.

As the spread of COVID-19 shut down auto manufacturing in the United States, companies such as GM and Tesla stepped up to suggest repurposing some unused spaces in their plants to help produce more ventilators. While President Donald Trump was a big fan of this response, both logistical and bureaucratic barriers got in the way. Yet again, the FDA's slow response was a problem. It wasn't until March 23, when the FDA announced it was relaxing some guidelines that strictly regulated where, how, and with what materials ventilators could be manufactured, that this problem could even begin to be solved.

Meanwhile, the worldwide collapse of tourism due to the spread of COVID-19 left hotels and short-term rental services such as Airbnb bereft of customers. Some hotels near medical centers were converted into clinics. Others, like the Four Seasons Hotel in New York City, announced plans to let medical personnel responding to the pandemic stay there free of charge. Airbnb offered to waive its fees if its hosts would likewise volunteer to house medical personnel and aid workers responding to the crisis. The company claims to have gotten 20,000 such offers by the end of March.

Beyond the philanthropic response, the ability of citizens to abide by shelter-in-place or stay-at-home recommendations and continue to thrive is entirely due to private-sector responses. While some small restaurants have had to shut their doors, many others are surviving thanks to delivery services such as Grubhub, DoorDash, and Postmates. Mass runs on grocery stores cleared shelves of staples, but within a week America's truck drivers and warehouse workers had gone into overdrive to get things back to a certain level of normalcy. There continued to be shortages of some goods, but even amid a deadly pandemic, almost no one had to worry about starving. For those stuck without companionship, Pornhub even offered one-month premium subscriptions for free.

The colossal response from the private sector most certainly helped make it possible for greater numbers of people to work from home, spend less time interacting with others, and "flatten the curve" to reduce the spread of COVID-19. While the government was still trying to figure out its messaging and untangle its bureaucracy, countless individuals, businesses, and community groups were quickly adapting to solve problems on the ground.

NEXT: Brickbat: Curbstomped

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  1. No country was ready for the pandemic. No country is ever ready for a pandemic, which is why it becomes a pandemic. The money and resources for a pandemic are economically unfeasible in normal times. It will only be spent once the emergency begins. The biggest lesson if we need to keep certain critical industries at home. I agree with most everything else, except all the billionaires have altruistic aims. Gates is a globalist that would chip everyone with his immunization chip, vaccinate everyone with his vaccine by mandate and take away your god given and Constitutional rights. His money is an investment, not a donation.

    1. America Wasn’t Ready for Coronavirus

      America was ready for corona virus. What America wasn’t, and still isn’t, ready for is the next panicked, stupid, pseudo-drama the media and political leaders are going to manufacture. The same way “we” “weren’t ready” for Trump. The same way “we” “weren’t ready” for transgendered bathrooms. The same way “we” “weren’t ready” to “believe all women”. Soft-skulled idiots like Robby Soave and Nick Gillespie who say, “Lori Lightfoot is an overbearing idiot, but she’s right.” make and keep this country unready.

      America will never be ready for the myriad of ways people will strive to deceive them under the banner of honest reporting.

      1. “America will never be ready for the myriad of ways people will strive to deceive them under the banner of honest reporting.”

        Why not? The president repeatedly warns against believing the lies of the news media, scientists, leftists and medical authorities. What’s the excuse?

        1. What’s your excuse? Your answer is in the mirror.

          1. “What’s your excuse?”

            I never paid any attention to the president’s repeated warnings not to listen to scientists, leftists, medical authorities, the media etc. What’s yours?

            1. You are affirming the original comment.

              1. I asked why Americans will never be ready to sort out the fake from the real. So far no answer.

                1. And you presented yourself as exhibit A. You don’t listen to warnings of disinformation.

                  1. I stopped listening to Trump long ago. I get most of his pronouncements second or third hand from places like this.

                    Are you saying that is why Americans will never be able to tell the real from the fake? Because of their distrust and distaste of Trump? It doesn’t make a lot of sense.

                2. The progressive takeover of the public education system at all levels is a big factor. Plus the fact that nearly all the media is a booster for Team Blue doesn’t help.

                  1. In Russia there was a communist take over of education, the media, and publishing, and almost everything else. Russians learned very quickly not to believe what they read or what the government and its minions told them.

                    What makes America’s government so skillful when it comes to gulling its citizens?

      2. This.

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    2. Hindsight is 20/20 and we’re always preparing for the last crisis. We were ill-prepared for Bunker Hill, Fort Sumter, Pearl Harbor, the Tet Offensive, 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, the boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics, and the assassination of William McKinley as well. Gonna be hell when that 9.6 earthquake hits LA next year because we’re not going to be prepared for that, either.

      Too many chiefs and not enough Indians – after 75 years of the CDC supposedly preparing for something like this, it turns out they were too busy studying diseases like teen vaping, gun violence, childhood obesity and no doubt discrimination against trans-gendered illegal immigrants to bother with putting together a plan and decided an ad hoc committee thrown together by the President was planning enough. And then it turns out our research on this particular sort of coronavirus had been outsourced by the NIH to a lab in Wuhan, China. Are you kidding me? China was right – the USA was responsible for this outbreak, we funded the damn thing. By all means, let’s have more government involved in this sort of thing, private enterprise couldn’t possibly create a fuck-up of this magnitude.

      1. “private enterprise couldn’t possibly create a fuck-up of this magnitude.”

        It was the government who stepped in and stopped the privately owned airlines from flying passengers in and out of affected areas.

        1. Non-sequitur:
          an inference (see inference sense 1) that does not follow from the premises (see premise entry 1 sense 1)

          Fuck off, you pathetic piece of shit.

          1. It was the US government who stopped the airlines.

      2. “Tet Offensive”

        This is an interesting inclusion. In fact, the US *was* ready for the Tet Offensive. It was a catastrophic failure that signaled the end of the Viet Cong as an effective fighting force. After that time, most battles were carried by the NVA.

        However back home in the US, it was painted as an unmitigated disaster for the US- proof that we could never win this war. In many ways, COVID and even Katrina are very similar. Any time in history, disease decimates populations. And a hurricane like Katrina would kill tens of thousands. But neither happened in the case of COVID or Katrina. It was merely the presence of sensationalist media that has created this sense that we are far less safe than we really are.

      3. Uh, dude, I believe ‘native americans’ Is the preferred nomenclature.

      4. This. This is the truth. And it’s not just America, it’s every country, every person. Someone wrote an entire book on this phenomenon but fuck if I can remember the title of the author.

        We inevitably discount the likelihood of any given scenario simply because it has to compete with so many other scenarios. Only *after* we experience a thing are we then prepared for the next time the thing comes around. What’s the difference between South Korea and the US? In this case South Korea had experienced SARS, and so they were much better prepared for Covid-19.

    3. Gates’ money is behind all the bullshit models that said millions would die, and were used as an excuse to destroy the economy and tens of millions of people’s lives.
      Human sacrifice has a place among our species, and Gates needs to be sacrificed

      1. Gates is also the guy who says exploring the roots of the outbreak is a “distraction.”

        Because getting the best understanding possible could have no bearing on our preparations for the next go round.

        Not that the corporatist media shills here at Reason are going to note that. Gates Foundation and Kaiser Family Foundation are no friends of liberty. As said above, it’s not donations, they both expect returns, be they financial or political.

  2. Here in Ohio, with a population of 11,7 million, we have 19900 cases and about 1100 deaths. Mostly elderly. Not much of a crisis.

    1. The crisis never was a crisis. All play for authoritarians and a media doing whatever they ca to take down a president. H1N1 moved off the pages in under a week during Obama. This media threw gas onto covid. They promoted false models all in an attempt to destroy an ecnomunprior to an election.

      1. Take away the hysteria and our stats are not that dramatic.

      2. I’m willing to accept that, given the raw numbers coming out of Wuhan and Italy, and not reliably knowing more details about the actual victims, it was not safe to say “this is only a threat to the super elderly and/or significantly infirm” about six weeks ago.

        Meanwhile it is plainly obvious today.

        So we need to drop this lockdown nonsense today.

        1. Details about the actual victims in Italy were known in February. Italy’s health minister–socialist health minister–issued a statement saying that 99% of their fatalities were among the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions. Also, Italy denied treatment to anyone over age 59 because health care is a right, or something, which means that it caused deaths that probably could have been avoided with treatment. Socialism killed those people, not corona. It was obvious then that the mortality rate was going to be far lower than what the bullshit models were predicting. As for China, they smoke like chimneys over there. That’s a risk factor for any respiratory virus and was a good enough reason to take the early numbers with a grain of salt. Then facts bore out the skepticism.

    2. How stupid is it to note the positive results of a policy (quarantine) and use that as evidence that the policy was unnecessary?

      Are you seriously suggesting that the lockdown hasn’t made much of a difference?

      1. The lockdown did not and will not make a positive difference. Mostly because Covid 19 is not that dangerous to healthy people. It will make a huge difference on our freedoms, our small businesses and our sense of well being.

        1. Healthy people are not the only people who matter. And many people are less-than-perfectly healthy. You have neither facts nor logic to back up your claim that the lockdown is not making a difference.

  3. The premature ‘Monday Morning Quarterbacking’ is grating at this stage. As if Unreason could do better.

  4. Boehm is still fucking lying about the tariffs as the cause of PPE issues even after the latest reports?

    China literally hid data and manipulated their imports and exports. But not a mention from eric? China is not a free market. Stop pretending it is.

    1. considering most of the PPE products coming from China are either infected of defective we don’t want them

      1. Also its not like Trump or anyone else new a pandemic would start while there were trade negotiations going on. Wait this couldn’t have been a trade tactic by China could it?

    2. “Boehm is still fucking lying about … ?”

      Does he ever do anything else?

      Enemy of the People gonna enemy.

    3. Boehm “The Trade War Made Us Less Prepared To Handle This Crisis”

      The *Globalists* made us less prepared.

      Everyone thank the Globalists for flooding America with #coronavirus through Chinese work and student visas, gutting American medical manufacturing, and making us dependent on the #CCP for our very lives.

  5. “By tracing the contacts of diagnosed people and quarantining those who in turn tested positive, they could have severed the person-to-person chains of disease transmission.”

    1. Tell us how this is done without massive government coercion.
    2. Worked great for AIDS, didn’t it? And that was a lot harder to transmit.

    1. ” Tell us how this is done without massive government coercion.”

      Just look at how things were done in South Korea. There was some coercion, but it wasn’t massive. The South Korean government could rely on a civic minded populace which trusted and respected the government and its leaders. Absent any of that, the American response was bound to be the comedy of errors that it was.

      1. Korea and Korean culture =/= US and US culture
        an inference (see inference sense 1) that does not follow from the premises (see premise entry 1 sense 1)

        Fuck off, you pathetic piece of shit.

        1. Not surprisingly, Korea has its share of blustery old men. You’d feel right at home there.

      2. You really are a drooling know nothing. Have you ever read a historical cultural book?

        1. Don’t blame me, it’s my culture’s fault!

      3. The South Korean government could rely on a civic minded populace which trusted and respected the government and its leaders. Absent any of that, the American response was bound to be the comedy of errors that it was.

        I agree but think you have it backwards. It is a civic minded populace that can ensure that government is held accountable, doesn’t overreach in panic, but that can accomplish something beyond the purely individual because it does have a sense of community.

        American libertarianism has IMO lost that. Hayek understood it when he wrote What a free society offers to the individual is much more than what he would be able to do if only he were free. But the libertarian flirtation with both anarchism and with the corrupt cronyism and unprincipled power mindset of R’s has eliminated what used to be a kind-of-libertarian googoo (good government) reformist impulse from classical liberalism.

      4. You mean an ovine, boot-licking populace.

        1. “You mean an ovine, boot-licking populace.”

          How did you come to that conclusion? Or more likely, whose word are you parroting?
          Koreans are very hard core when it comes to dealing with corrupt and incompetent presidents, for example. Pak, the previous president, was impeached and hauled from the presidential office, they call it the Blue House, and straight into the slammer where she is now and is likely to remain for the next ten years or so. Lee, her predecessor, managed to serve out his term of office but is similarly now in prison and share’s Pak’s fate.

          Demonstrations are similarly hard core without any gunplay but are intense, large, loud and confrontational. Highschoolers, for example, protesting say, a rise in the price of textbooks, or a crackdown on pirated ones or whatever, can turn out in the tens of thousands, packing the center of the city and faced with huge numbers of police in armor with shields and sticks and gas masks. Koreans were mobbing the US embassy late last year if I recall correctly. Staff had to retreat for their own safety.

  6. We in the progressive / neocon / libertarian #Resistance literally spent all of January and February warning this virus was going to spread across the planet and cause enormous loss of life. But Orange Hitler didn’t listen because he was too busy golfing.


    1. From Twitter:

      While we spent the past two months losing our civil rights, the “#Resistance” was shut in, hiding in their parents’ basements.

      1. They didn’t show up for May day protests either. Ironic that commies would be take heed from the imperialist bastards that is the government.

        1. Antifa cowed by government edict. That is hilarious.

          Buncha fuckin pussies.

    2. “My message to the Jewish community, and all communities, is this simple: the time for warnings has passed,” the mayor added. “I have instructed the NYPD to proceed immediately to summons or even arrest those who gather in large groups. This is about stopping this disease and saving lives. Period.”

      Yeah, Trump is literally Hitler here…oh wait….

    3. It was so bad Nancy invited everyone to visit Chinatown.

    4. Yep, you in the progressives, etc., were/are absolutely in full panic mode (after you were absolutely in full nothing to worry about mode). Now you are in totalitarian fascist mode. You are just adorbs.

  7. “America Wasn’t Ready for Coronavirus”

    Utter Bullshit. Was “America” ready to do what Sweden did (and didn’t do)? Because that (or less) is all that was required.

    1. Sweden has single payer healthcare, which means government bureaucrats stand between you and the infected catching all the germs before they get to you, preventing you from catching it.

      They are that good.

      1. since over 90% of people who get Kungflu don’t go to their doctor anyway because it was minor the healthcare system would have little if anything to do with preventing the spread. Few people go to their doctors when they get the flue or cold.

      2. We should hire them. Given that the standard of living in Sweden is about that of Kentucky or West Virginia they would jump at the prospect.

    2. Sweden was ready. The Swedes are in better health demonstrated by an obesity rate 1/3 that of the US. The Swedes have an efficient national health care program that would take care of them should they get sick. The Swedes have a system of government safety nets to insure that they are economically secure. Wealth is more equally distributed in Sweden. Finally the Swedes trust their government and voluntarily are practicing social distancing. So we are not yet ready for the Swedish model of response.

      1. Money is earned, not ‘distributed’. WTF is wrong with you?

        1. What is your point? Are you saying the Swedes don’t work, they just get money distributed to them? The Swedes work and pay taxes to their government which in-turn provides health care and other economic safety nets that provide peace of mind. Because they have this peace of mind they can take a more relaxed stance to the pandemic.

          1. The relaxed areas of the US say hello.

  8. South Korea and Taiwan seem to have been about the only countries in the world that were somewhat prepared for this. That was mostly because they had direct experience with SARS. Seems like experience is a requirement for preparation with respect to something this large.

    Also the models from UW which were wrong on they day some of the mods were issued and the Imperial College models by a guy with a history of erring fantastically on the side of doom, contributed to the idiotic response to quarantine the healthy. Sweden’s protocols will be shown to be superior to what we did in the long run. I suspect that death rates will converge all around the world to roughly the same value in a year or so.

    1. In reviewing the approaches of South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, Hong Kong, and Singapore – all of which have had relatively few COVID-19 deaths, I find myself believing that all of those places do a much better job of cleaning public transportation. Japan and Hong Kong have also been sort of mask-obsessed for many years. I know that the experts have said basic surgical masks don’t help much, but Hong Kong in particular – a city of 7 million people, is an interesting example. They’ve had only 4 deaths so far from COVID-19. Their public health officials have been strongly recommending good hand hygiene (which we American’s suck at) and masks. It seems to be working.

      1. By far masks are better at stopping the masked person from spreading a virus, than they are at protecting the masked person from receiving a virus.

        Asians have always worn masks as a courtesy when the masked person is sick.

        1. Do you think a piece of fabric will stop a high pressure, high velocity droplet from a sneeze or a low pressure, low velocity droplet from inhaling?
          You are wrong.

          1. Inhaling the virus (if it is in the air near you) is not significantly slowed by a mask unless it has an airtight fit. Also, eyes are exposed .

            However, the mask does greatly reduce the radius that you are contaminating when you breath and speak through your mouth.

            I’ve sneezed twice in 5 days. Nobody was within 100 feet of me at the time. Even if they were, I could mitigate the high velocity.

            How often are you sneezing? If it is often, yes, please stay home.

            1. Congratulations. Now your mask is full of bacteria, viruses, and everything else you sneezed out. I hope you were wearing sterile gloves when you put it on and every time you touched it and when you took it off, because if you’re not then you’re just wasting your time and spreading filth. Just like cloth grocery bags trap and spread filth.

          2. “Do you think a piece of fabric will stop a high pressure, high velocity droplet from a sneeze or a low pressure, low velocity droplet from inhaling?”

            Are not medical masks designed and used with precisely this in mind?

            1. No, they are not homemade from thin cotton cloth.

              1. But are medical masks able to ‘stop a high pressure, high velocity droplet from a sneeze or a low pressure, low velocity droplet from inhaling?’

                If ‘yes’ then why not use a medical mask?

                1. A lot of people went to a lot of trouble producing Youtube videos that explained how you can make a shitty homemade mask.

                  How dare you!

                  1. At one point there was concern that there wouldn’t be enough proper medical masks to go around. Perhaps these Youtube people thought that their improvised masks would be better than nothing.

                    1. Why would anybody use a medical device not approved by the FDA?

                    2. “Why would anybody use a medical device not approved by the FDA?”

                      Because people will use whatever they can buy or improvise for themselves. The words of the FDA are only important if these FDA words are important to you. I choose to ignore them. Makes life much easier.

                2. Many n95 masks have one way valves that allow for easier exhalation.
                  Filtered air on the inhale, unfiltered air on the exhale. Who is protected?

                  1. Eskimo style: one filter facing in, the other facing out.

                3. Because wearing a mask is stupid unless you’re in a vulnerable class, and 99% of the population is not. If you’re vulnerable or just retarded then wear a mask. It’s your health and therefore your job to protect it. Nobody else’s.

              2. Most of those home made masks were more substantial than one piece of thin cloth. Many were layered with interfacing and others included pockets for improvised, disposable filters.

          3. I understand that an N95 mask, properly fitted, is far superior to a basic cloth “surgical mask”. I just find it interesting that Japan and Hong Kong both have a lot of citizens wearing those basic masks – and they have experienced very few COVID-19 deaths. As I mentioned, there are likely other factors that have led to their relative success – such as better hand hygiene (compared to the USA) and far better cleaning of public transportation surfaces. A consultant to Hong Kong’s ministry of health has said publicly that the masks they use have made a difference and that within the city, there are more cases in areas where there’s less compliance on mask use.

        2. Is it too much to ask someone to sneeze or cough into their elbow?

        3. Doctors and nurses in trauma bays wear masks to protect themselves from disease. If it worked the other way around they’d put masks on the patients.

      2. When looking at any other population you really need to adjust for age and presence of co-morbidities before drawing any conclusions.

        If you do not do that then your comparisons are apples to oranges at best.

      3. ” I know that the experts have said basic surgical masks don’t help much, but Hong Kong in particular – a city of 7 million people, is an interesting example.”

        Hong Kong is actually a very interesting example. It is a single city whose government has complete control over all ports of entry, and the powers to track it down. North Korea is in a similar boat. 70% of the population lives in 3 cities, and it has a single government responsible for managing all ports of entry- including their 2 international airports.

        Now let’s do the United States. New York alone has 2 international airports. Those airports’ ports of entry are guarded by Federal Agents. City police manage local order. So who is going to manage the contact tracing? Is it the Federal Government who alone is responsible for managing ports of entry? Or is it the state who has the sheriffs and the health departments, or is it the city who actually has the manpower locally?

        My point isn’t that the US is completely incapable of doing this. It is that comparing a city state or small nation to the United States is horrible. How about Hawaii? It is doing pretty good, on par with Taiwan. How about California? It is doing much better than the United Kingdom- in cases and deaths per million. It is even doing better than Germany, who is thought to have “nailed it” on this whole covid thing. Texas too. It is doing even better.

        Indeed, the US’s failures are largely in 3 places- the megalopolis of the North East, Detroit and Louisiana. For all the problems in these areas, the US largely is doing well in others.

        1. “North Korea is in a similar boat.”
          –er South Korea.

  9. Why the fuck do you think anyone cares what your very wrong for months asses think about any of this?

  10. If it was media manufactured crisis, then it’s working. I know at least two Trump supporters who won’t be voting for him in Nov. because of “lack of leadership.” The “Is there a way we can….inject” seems to be the last straw for them. Some folks are even applauding the way China locked down Wuhan by arresting everyone who went outdoors. If someone wanted a police state, then this crisis has moved America yet another step closer.

    1. I know at least two Trump supporters…
      How dare you!

  11. South Korean health officials met on January 27 with private biomedical companies, urging them to develop coronavirus diagnostic tests and assuring them of speedy regulatory approval. …

    In stark contrast, officials at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stymied private and academic development of diagnostic tests. Much to the contrary, the CDC required that public health officials use only a diagnostic test designed by the agency. That test—released on February 5—turned out to be contaminated by a reagent that made it impossible for outside labs to tell if the virus was present in a sample or not.

    It’s shit like this that puts the lie to the whole “land of the free” bullshit that we love to spout. We haven’t been a “free country” for quite some time. This should put the final nail in the coffin for most people, but it won’t. I guess most people prefer to believe the comforting lie than to face the truth.

    1. The bureaucrat motives are not very different at all. The difference is IMO in the terrain for possible corruption.

      Korea has no global ambitions re ‘public health’ or pharma. Not for its bureaucrats or for its pharma. So when this new virus pops up, both the bureaucrats and private sector focused on this one virus – got the basic info about it from WHO/China – and were able to quickly develop a focused test.

      In US, both CDC and pharma have ‘global’ ambitions. The CDC wants to replace WHO as the go-to public health resource — and pharma wants a global market that is protected. So when this new virus pops up, it is not one virus it is one MORE virus to be added to the list of viruses that constitute public health threats globally. CDC wanted a test that was uniquely able to test for multiple viruses (to one-up the WHO) – and pharma wanted a protected unique market for reagents/etc that can do the ‘multiple viruses’ thang. Turns out neither gave a shit about actual public health of Americans so neither was particularly interested in this particular virus. Until they utterly failed – and that failure wasted so much time that it became a serious problem here. And even then, neither really gives a shit. CDC will be as unaccountable as govt always is here in the US. And the profit opportunity for pharma now re that testing is actually better than it would have been had it been done right the first time. Win-win.

      We are utterly corrupt. And I don’t even think we lie to ourselves about being honest or diligent. Which isn’t the same thing as ‘we aren’t free’.

  12. Attention all hindsight geniuses! Please tell us what catastrophe will impact the US in 2025 and how we should prepare.

    Will it be another pandemic (and what kind of infectious agent)? Will it be a major earthquake or weather event? Will it be a financial collapse? Will it be large scale war? Will it be a social/political insurrection? Will it be a significant disruption in food supply?

    Tell us what preparations to make and how to allocate limited resources. Show your math.

    1. It will be the end of the Trump presidency.

      1. If the progs get in and shove this shit down our throats on a maintenance basis, it will lead to a civil war.

    2. I only know it will involve extreme heat or cold or drought or flooding.

      1. I’m hoping it will be locust next time. Or a hail of frogs.

        1. I’ve already smeared kambs blood on my front door.
          I dont have kids, but just to be safe

    3. Get intouch with your ‘health insurer’. Take a look at the stock prices for the ‘health care providers’ over the last decade. Insurers are supposed to be there to pay out when you wreck your car or someone else wrecks it along with you. Same with any other natural disaster. They’ve been given the most egregious pass on this one and everyone including the smartest of the smart such as Buffett et al seem to be doing the deer in the headlights thing and just sheltering in place while the people who can least afford it are going to wind up footing the bill for this disaster when tax rates are raised on the middle class and programs for the poor and the needy are cut back next year after the panic subsides. If it subsides by then.

  13. A friend said he wears a mask not because he is afraid but because he wants to protect people in case he is asymptomatic. If that is the reason to wear a mask then we will have to wear mask every day forever since every year there are up to 28% of people who are asymptomatic for any flue season. I think this is wear we are heading coverings/control for all not just the sick

    1. No. We have easily survived every flu season without being a mask culture.

      1. We hope but those in power now are lusting for more and if they can save just one life today why not for all time.

        1. Simple solution. Most of these people have too much time to think at home while getting paid. Cut their pay and see how fast they smarten up. Granny who?

    2. Having watched peoples mask (and glove) wearing behaviors for the past few weeks I can confidently state that so many are getting it wrong as to make it mostly pointless.

      1. I’d also add that in many parts of Asia mask wearing is much less about disease phobia than it is about protecting the face from sun exposure for purely cosmetic reasons. Less so in Japan, more so as one moves further south.

      2. Gloves are useless unless you’re constantly changing your gloves. So just wash your hands and don’t touch your face between washings when outside the home.

        1. Good point. Gloves can do more harm if they are not used correctly.

        2. And they’re bacterial traps.

          The bottom line is just be cautious like you do during flu season.

          Beyond that, you’re just pretending.

    3. Yeh, that’s a silly reason. And from what I read there’s a low transmission from asympto. people.

      They’re out of their minds if they think I’m going to wear a mask. Let people who feel they should wear one for whatever reason wear one. Don’t make it mandatory.

      Besides, only the 95 and 94 masks are actually effective. All the rest is mostly 50/50 and psychological theatre.

      1. But kabuki theater has always worked. Wearing a mask is the new virtue signaling trend and if you don’t wear one you’re akin to Satan himself. This virus has turned people into cult members, they all need to take selfies with it on and show off how virtuous they are. I call them ‘Branch Covidians.’

        1. Lol. Yes and now I’m seeing full shield guards.

          The sheep retard pandemic is more problematic than the Wuhan itself.

        2. “Branch Covidians”


      2. “All the rest is mostly 50/50 and psychological theatre.”

        A lot of medicine is psychological theatre and has been for as long as there’s been a medical profession. That whole white coat and stethoscope routine is costume and prop to those of us who know something about treading the boards.

    4. Fuck that.

  14. These are a good set of article and we need to remember much of what was said in the future. While no government can be ready for crises like this pandemics, we have a particularly inept administration at this time. President Trump failed to recognize the size and scope of the problem until the stock market collapsed. He is ill informed by his own choice, he lacks message discipline, and he has no ability to reassure in a crisis. He is a salesman and he can sell products good or bad, but lack management skills.

    1. But Nancy said come to Chinatown!

      1. …and Bill said come ride the subway.

        1. …and Andrew said let’s put positive patients in nursing homes.

          1. Andrews not President.

        2. Bills not President.

          1. Andrews not President.
            Bills not President.
            We need more Government!

    2. He didn’t fail to recognize. Like all politicians they originally listened to their health gods who said nothing to worry about.

      Politicians went with that. Obviously.

      Blah, blah with the rest.

  15. Reason wasn’t ready either. Need to own that.

    1. No, Reason was the only group that was ready, going back more than two years when they insisted we should always give China anything they wanted. If only Ron, Scott, KMW, and ENB had been in charge, we’d have avoided this crisis entirely.

      And I just threw up in my mouth.

  16. “Public health officials had the opportunity to slow, if not contain, the outbreak: By tracing the contacts of diagnosed people and quarantining those who in turn tested positive, they could have severed the person-to-person chains of disease transmission.”

    How do you contact trace those that are asymptomatic? It seems like a fool’s errand.

    1. It flies in the face of the “wildly contagious “ claims.

  17. The best thing to do during days like these is to just enjoy a good post apocalyptic podcast. I recommend Aftermath by Fire Pit Creative Group.

  18. In Article, quoting… “But after four startups began offering at-home testing, promising to further improve access, an obstinate FDA shut them down.”
    Who is them? Without mentioning them all we have here is a stupid comment. We can’t check. So this is AgitProp!

  19. “When President Woodrow Wilson took the nation to war against Germany in 1917, he did so in the name of making the world safe for democracy.”

    LOL, nope! Kaiser Wilhelm was as much of a threat to the United States as Kim-Jong-Un. The Great war was nothing but a pissing match between moribund European powers.

    1. That’s true, but U.S. banks had made unsecured loans to some belligerents on the assumption that Serbia’s ally Russia would beat Germany, Austria and Turkey. Instead, Germany infected Russia with communist fanaticism and These States were impressed into the affray to secure the outcome that would collect on those unsecured loans. This is covered in Prohibition and The Crash.

  20. Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates saw the pandemic coming.

    Did he see *this* specific pandemic or did he just predict a generic one? If the latter, gee, no shit. We kinda knew – those who are literate or informed about these things – one was on the way eventually. And if the former, I’d be a little suspicious.

    I’d be a little ‘cui bono?’ with Bill Gates. The fact he’s all over the news and filling my inbox with emails from people I know to be Karens or generally uncurious people leaves me with a raised Bugs Bunny eyebrow.

  21. America was ready for coronavirus. It wasn’t ready for a pants-shitting, hyperventilating meltdown from authority-loving assholes who can’t accurately assess risk, and that includes the sheeple, the politicians, and the press. Considering the inflated mortality numbers, everywhere but New York City could have handled the problem without doing anything very different than in previous years. We committed economic and cultural suicide for no fucking reason.

    1. If it’s any consolation, the exact same reaction emerged in Oct-Nov 1918, but the economy was already on a war footing. Also, I am eyewitness to the same sort of screeching panic and appeals to coercion in another country, and see this in media from a couple of extra jurisdictions. The State Science Institute in a collectivist People’s State lost control of dangerous viruses and people everywhere are panicked. Politicians everywhere are reacting with idiotic ignorance of biology and math–not just in These States.

  22. Trump, who is most definitely not a libertarian, is an infallible hero god to most of the readers of Reason.

    Despite him being the leader of the nation during this fiasco, they will not fault him one bit. Either he is not responsible for his government’s failures, or the entire crisis is an overblown hoax*.

    *Never mind even Trump said up to two million deaths could occur if nothing is done.

    1. You’re pathetic

      1. You just proved who’s pathetic with your pathetic reply.

        You’re mad because you know I’m right so all you can do is insult lol.

        1. Geno, you come here and spout the same irrelevant npc script as any other ten center.
          You’re not worth any more than a succinct summary of your being.
          Consider this one charity

  23. “For those stuck without companionship, Pornhub even offered one-month premium subscriptions for free.” So everything gonna be okay…

  24. Nice clickbait title but where is the discussion about the catastrophic failure of the American Health Care Scam to be even remotely prepared for this and to have failed so woefully when it became apparent that there was a need to, say convert the elective surgery wing and the nurses in that section of hospitals into critical care facilities?

    I guess this is simply part and parcel of, you don’t ever want to talk about death in this country and you don’t want to say anything bad about the people on the front lines. But it isn’t the pediatric nurses who are being laid off who are to blame, it is the so called health care providers all of whom have made mountains of money over the last decade according to their pre panic stock prices who are 99.9% responsible for the panic that resulted in the entire country being shut down.

    The fundamental reason everyone except the wealthiest of the wealthy is now up a creek without a paddle is the government manufactured panic that the hospitals would be overrun with ill people and this would exacerbate the death toll. Something that no branch of government or political party did anything to attempt to mitigate. They made the panic worse by being as clueless as they are. And guess what, neither did the health care providers i.e. the insurance companies who have piles of money that they collected from everyone in the country banked because the money was not spent preparing for exactly this sort of demand on the ‘system’. Maybe that is due to the fact that there does not appear to be a system other than a system to collect money in the best of times and then hide under a rock in the worst.

    All due respect to the people who are and have been showing up for work and putting themselves within spitting distance of the sick and or the otherwise panicked into believing that they are sick. Not enough can be said about those people in the best possible way. But the rest of them i.e. the insurance shills and the clueless government non leaders are clearly the group who were not ready for this and who have been given a free pass on paying out when they should have been the ones footing the majority of the bill for the needed medical supplies whether that is materials or salaries for the workers.

    Because if you haven’t figured it out yet, the people up the creek without a paddle and out of work are the ones who will ultimately foot the bill for this mess. Piles of government give away money will result in new tax burdens on the middle class and cuts in programs for the needy and the poor. That’s next years post panic story.

    When a hurricane strikes, the insurance companies pay up and have the responsibility to clean up. Same when you wreck your car etc. This is no different but in the panic and the nonsense being spouted by the non leaders in the government about how citizens need to make sacrifices, the insurers have been given a free pass in the most egregious way.

  25. Irony: The above articles are from the “June, 2020” issue. I guess the writers trekked into the future and brought back the text. Too bad they didn’t time travel a few months ago and saw today.
    Not that anyone would have listened. That’s the flaw in 20-20 Hindsight articles, which these are: Until the wolf arrives, no one listens.

  26. The government should make a rational choice, because the strength of a country if its people are healthy and put aside the matter of trade and political warfare first.

  27. The takeaway is that the people don’t trust each other to do the considerate thing so the powers-that-be point guns at people to force them to do what the powers-that-be have decided is proper.

  28. America‘s Government Wasn’t Ready for Coronavirus

    Fixed. America was plenty ready, in spite of its overlords.

  29. America Wasn’t Ready for Coronavirus Early takeaways from the country’s response to a pandemic

    Yeah, spoken like the leftist, collectivist, authoritarians you are.

    Here’s how a libertarian thinks about such problems. Was I ready for the pandemic? Was my company ready for the pandemic? What can I learn from this and how can I better prepare for such emergencies next time? Can I get together with like minded individuals so that we are more ready for the pandemic together? Are there business opportunities in preparing for future pandemics? How an I best insulate myself from the government’s screw-ups?

    We call these sort of thought processes “libertarian”. I suggest you familiarize yourself with it, since this is nominally a libertarian rag.

  30. An actual libertarian magazine would take this opportunity to point out that that murdering Americans in the tens of thousands a year by restricting their access to healthcare is what the FDA has been doing for *decades*.

    The only difference this time is that we’re *all* seeing the incompetence and corruption for the *same* disease.

  31. Almost EXACTLY the same things happened when the Spanish flu came from Europe. Fake news said it originated with U.S. soldiers in Kansas or thereabouts. Papers blared demands for coercion, shutting down businesses… the works. The Deseret News of 28NOV1918 is just an easily accessed example. Now DNA is known and can be read, even weaponized. A professional chemist recently told me about bad lab practices in Red China he sees firsthand as an auditor. Missouri is suing the Chinese Communist Party and with any luck the system can be bankrupted like the Soviets in 1991. Taiwan and Hong Kong release no killer viruses.

  32. How was American unprepared for WuhanV? Easier to count the ways we WERE…. and in the silence, “Buehler? Buehler????” and the sound of crickets.

    We were the fat kid, the lazy kid, the big sloppy kid with the silver spoon slouched in the midst of an endless plenty, belching and spending his time trimming toenails and worrying whether or not his pronouns were correct. They weren’t — as per his Social Justice wet-nurses — they never are. And what about Rape Culture, White Privilege, Heteronormativity, and whether or not Al Franken’s tongue was involved in an unwanted french kiss?! That ain’t working…. Money for nothing and your chicks for free.

    And so, when the monster finally came a calling what could we do but cry and cower and wait to be rescued (only dimly realizing that we, indeed, were supposed to be the ones rescuing).

    Everything we’ve done…politically, socially, culturally, educationally….over the last 20-30 years placed us in this pit, this choking slough of despond we struggle to escape. And it will require both a Great Awakening and a Great Determination to drag our sorry butts back out.

    We might begin, for instance, with Big Swampy Government. It’s too damn huge; too damn worthless; too bureaucratically frozen in procedure and process and the need for multi-level, self-serving approvals. Being able to respond both effectively and quickly to ANYTHING is flat out impossible. Junk it and start over. It truly can’t be any worse.

    Or perhaps we begin with the organization to which we’ve been shoveling $12B annually….the organization tasked exclusively with shielding the American people from exactly the crap which now kills us. We might begin, in other words, with the CDC and ask, “What in hell have they been spending their $12B on since obviously tracking and controlling and anticipating viral pandemic was nothing they were doing” Of course given that a quick CDC websearch gives us 66K entries under ‘Social Justice’ and only 50K under ‘virus’, we might suspect that stopping WuhanV was not as important as transgenderism, inclusivity, and diversity.

    Or…We might begin at the micro-level and ask: “How is it possible that our hospitals and clinics were so woefully inventoried that they exhausted their emergency supplies in DAYS??” Didn’t it occur to anyone that — hey, maybe we should have, like a coupla months supply of PPEquipment so we can do what we’re trained to do in the case of Crisis? Maybe?? Or is that — always — someone else’s job??

    Or maybe begin with our multi-generational addiction to “Expertise”, the professional talking head, the one who always knows best what’s best for us. Got a problem with your marriage? Want to know which car to buy? Where to live? How to have kids and raise kids? Worried about how to teach your children well? How to avoid microaggressions and cultural appropriation? How to run a constant apology tour for things you never did? Ask the Expert. And we are stopped and stymied until the Expert speaks.

    Got a Corona Virus….call the guy in the Lab Coat. Not only can he tell us about the Virus…he can tell us how to live and where to live and what to wear and when it’s safe (Hint: it will never be SAFE!) and where to go and when and how far to stand apart, and just how badly damaged our nation must be before he’ll be willing to let us undertake a .1% mortality risk.

    Or perhaps, most fundamental of all, we should begin with ourselves: a collection of generations too frightened to go outside without a mask….too selfishly concerned with our own personal security to bear the burden of making this nation itself safe, and prosperous. This is war, and the frontline is not some distant land where young men and women bleed. Rather it is here, right here among us. And we ourselves the soldiers called upon to risk our lives (albeit a small risk) to protect our children and our legacy, this American way of life.

    Is it safe, we ask? Or should we all stay home forever….and let 244 years of freedom and bravery and bloody sacrifice be washed away NOT by a virus but by our own selfish cowardice in the face of a virus only marginally more dangerous than the flu?

  33. While there have been a lot of goofs, it’s a bit discouraging to see Reason playing the same ideological blame game as everyone else. From 30,000 feet, this was going to be a disaster under any scenario, because humanity was unprepared to defend itself against the virus. The only defense is a vaccine, and we didn’t have one. And we still don’t know if and when we will get one–which is the real subject the Reason editors (and everyone else) should be discussing.

    What mankind needs right now is JFK. The Apollo Project was something that no single corporation could have taken on, but JFK managed to inspire the nation and bring all the strengths of the private sector to bear to put a man on the moon. That kind of vision and leadership, where the goal is creating a vaccine to beat Covid-19 in record time, is what America and the world needs.

    Trump, Biden, Justin Amash–take your pick. None of our current politicians have what Jack had. They aren’t people of vision. None of them could have put a man on the moon.

    I hope we get lucky and one of the vaccines under development works. At this point, our best hope is that some lab in the private sector will save us. It’s easy, however, to imagine a different kind of leadership in the political realm that could supercharge the effort, if we had the right individual.

  34. Most nations outside of Asia weren’t ready for this. They’re not geographically close to China and other regions prone to viral outbreaks and polllution. Tawian develop a protocol for this kind of pandemic dating back to the mid 2000s. They were ready to pinpoint and track people arriving in their airport at the outset.

    I’m personally skeptical of the notion that “early testing would have saved us”. Why would millions of Americans gotten tested in Feb or early March when the prevailing notion was that this was just another flu? What if you had to download tracking apps on your phone after getting tested, which is what happened in Korea? Half of our initial deaths were in a WA nursing home and we were way behind Italy in terms of total deaths.

    We weren’t going to significantly flatten the curve in early March unless we massively quarantined, tracked and (basically) imprison large amount of infected people in their homes, which is China did, and also Korea, to a lesser degree. Almost all of the population had to wear masks outside. In American that just would not have been feasible. Not for a country this size, with a population that’s still skeptical of blanket collectivism.

  35. The US is less ready than most because the pandemic has a centralized single focus, while US healthcare is a decentralized patchwork.

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  37. Death toll has climbed to around 85k. Just so sad to hear about this.

  38. The idea we could have stopped it with contact tracing and testing as stated in this article is asinine. By the time we even knew it was a problem we had thousands of cases already spreading through communities. They tested blood samples from autopsies done in early January and found coronavirus. Possibly if we could have found the first person in probably December to fly from China into the US that was infected we may have had a chance. The same was true for Europe. Comparing the US with South Korea is apples to oranges. How do their international airports compare with the numbers in the US? We were hit on the West Coast by China and East Coast by Europe. South Korea is like one state in the US. They are a small country surrounded on three sides by water and had cases come in from China.

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