Coronavirus

Coronavirus: 10 Public Safety Regulations Set Aside in the Name of Public Safety

Restrictions on takeout cocktails, telemedicine, hand sanitizer, and plastic bags are among the rules being chucked aside in a crisis.

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Politicians and bureaucrats spend a lot of their time making new laws and regulations to "protect the public," but now that the public is really in danger, the government is realizing that setting many of them aside is essential for our safety.

Here are 10 measures enacted in the name of public safety that have been set aside in the name of public safety.

  1. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) testing monopoly is perhaps the biggest and most obvious clusterfuck on the list: The agency mandated that only it could create and distribute tests. When they finally did roll them out, they turned out to be painfully slow and wildly inaccurate. Only after this colossal failure did they allow private companies into the game, which has led to more testing kits that deliver faster results. If only that had happened months ago.
  2. On March 18, the White House announced that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) would finally allow health care providers to work across state lines. This is fantastic news—except HHS doesn't have that kind of authority. States have jurisdiction over who can practice within their boundaries. Not surprisingly, HHS has been pretty quiet about the issue, but at least some states have waived restrictions, making it easier for doctors to be doctors.
  3. You know things are serious when the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is easing stupid restrictions. Since 2006 the agency said that having more than 3.4 ounces of liquid in a container was super dangerous on airplanes, but now that actual danger is around and no one is flying, hand sanitizer in 12-ounce bottles is A-OK.
  4. Speaking of hand sanitizer, here's some good news from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau: Distilleries around the country can now make hand sanitizer without jumping through a metric fuckton of red tape, including permits, bonds, authorization, formula approval, and taxes. These waivers are only approved through June 30, however—after which that same hand sanitizer might once again be very dangerous.
  5. Anyone who makes or sells alcohol is well-versed in ridiculous and counterproductive regulation, but with the crushing blow that social distancing brings to restaurants, at least one strip of red tape is being snipped: State and local governments are lifting bans on alcohol home delivery, which is welcome news to bars, restaurants, and anyone stuck at home paying attention to the news.
  6. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been easing a bunch of restrictions, including relaxing rules on ventilator manufacturing, allowing pharmacists to make hand sanitizer, declaring previously unapproved respirators totally safe now, allowing outside groups to make diagnostic tests, easing access to antiviral drugs, allowing the use of medical devices that remotely measure vital signs, and allowing veterinarians to utilize telemedicine—which was prohibited why?
  7. Medicare is now paying for telemedicine visits, which makes a lot of sense for people who can't leave their house easily or are at greater risk of infection which, come to think of it, is basically everyone who was on Medicare to begin with.
  8. HHS said even though they don't fully conform to HIPAA rules regarding privacy and security, doctors may now use Skype and FaceTime for telemedicine because the future is now—or at least it was 17 years ago.
  9. Numerous states are freeing nonviolent offenders who were put behind bars for technical violations or because they simply couldn't afford bail. Cite-and-release policies are also being enacted across the country, keeping low-level offenders out of jail if there is no risk to the community—and it's a pretty damning admission by authorities that for a long time they've been just fine with locking people up who pose no risk to the community.
  10. And plastic bags are back, baby! After a hot and heavy fling with reusable grocery bags, politicians are waking up to realize that canvas totes have a secondary function as microbial party buses. So what was once banned is now required, and vice versa…in the name of public safety…subject to change.

Produced by Austin Bragg, research by John Osterhoudt
Music: Vintage Rock by Anton Iliashenko—Pond5

NEXT: Trump Should Forget Iran. America Has a Pandemic To Handle.

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  1. Wooooot! Finally, some reason in Reason. Also, it’s time to address end of life issues. As an 80+ year old, would I want to spend weeks or months on a ventilator? No. Then again, I worked in medicine, and spend a year in a spinal cord clinic. America has to face reality and allow patients a more peaceful death than heroic measures. I’ve cracked ribs, doing chest compressions.

    1. *spend a year in a spinal cord clinic, as a patient.

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    3. Best piece in AGES

      Austin Bragg is now on the A Team, not the B Team (Brown, Bitschki, Binion, etc)

    4. As an 80+ year old, would I want to spend weeks or months on a ventilator? No.

      America has to face reality and allow patients a more peaceful death than heroic measures.

      Then fill out an advance directive.

    5. “I’ve cracked ribs doing chest compressions.”

      Maybe you should warm up first.

  2. What exactly is a lockdown supposed to do? The virus gets tired and goes away?

    Let’s say we lock down the nation for the month of April. For the sake of argument we will assume you can force some three hundred million of the freest people in the world to stay inside for 4 weeks. We’ll also assume these people can somehow access food, energy etc. for the entire time.

    July rolls around, no one has the virus domestically, so we start allowing movement… the virus is not going to be gone from the world. It will still be out there. How long until we get another explosion of cases? Are we then supposed to lock down for another 28 days?

    The people advocating for blanket lockdowns are insane. There is only one way to fight this virus, and that is the immune response. Everything else is basic hygiene. We cannot stop it without a vaccine, and we cannot live like 4channers for the next year. Lockdowns do unthinkable violence on the economy and will not stop this virus from spreading. Even if people complied with the insanity it would only stop it from spreading in the short-term.

    1. May rolls around*

      and that’s why you don’t post before proofreading. And coffee.

    2. Hey, we aren’t all NEETs. Some of us just like it indoors.

      *coof

    3. It’s all good… I’ve heard rumors that May and June are going to be cancelled anyway. ????

    4. I posted this elsewhere too. Here is an interesting comparison of countries and mitigation steps which concludes that the number of steps is immaterial to low death and infection rates, and the only mitigation which seems to work is masks. Whether true or not, it’s certainly interesting seeing how many countries do so many things differently and get unrelated variable results.

      1. The data sets you use leave out areas such as S. Korea and Hong Kong which had quick responses. Also, the multi week lag time of infection spread makes data analysis at this time almost meaningless. It won’t be for a few more weeks until we will know what measures are working.

    5. “What exactly is a lockdown supposed to do?”

      Make chicken littles like JFree and Hihn feel safe, and impoverish a lot of the rest of us.

      1. But but but – You aren’t Chicken Little if the sky is ACTUALLY falling.

        Which would probably also cause shortness of breath. Or something.

    6. The lockdown is a part of the carefully considered decision to swat a fly with a sledgehammer. Yes, I know the virus is more than a fly, but it’s certainly no more horrific than was polio back in the 1940-50-60 era.

    7. Lockdowns are *supposed* to do unthinkable violence to the economy.

  3. Geez. I had no idea that hand sanitizer was such a threat to public health and safety. There were limits on how much you could bring onto an airplane; distilleries could not make hand sanitizer without massive amounts of red tape and approvals; and pharmacists were prohibited to make it at all. Who knew that such a seemingly-unremarkable household item was so extraordinarily dangerous as to require this absurdly high level of regulation and control?

  4. Great piece. Love it.

  5. Why isn’t he federal government rescinding LCV rules and modifying federal trucking weight limits to relieve pressure on the transportation supply chain. With all the discussions of green house gasses, emissions, truck driver shortages and now the Corona Virus-19 it would seem that these arcane weight limits that have been in place from a time when engineering, trucking and safety technology were far below where they are today.

    https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/policy/otps/truck/wusr/chap02.cfm

    If California or many other states are looking to ease the pressures on supply, As well as decreasing emissions. If their legislators or governors along with the federal government to could see through to accommodate new more efficient ways of moving more weight It would seem that now would be a good time. Whats even more interesting is that much of this is already in use in many large western states that have some very dense urban areas. Creating less emissions, moving more freight and using less drivers……….

    1. This hysteria is about destroying the economy not making it more flexible.

    2. The Glorious Peoples’ Republic of California has a plan for that.

      It’s called High Speed Rail.

  6. Just abolish all the Nazi (syn: National Socialist) programs that are unconstitutional already… Problems solved. Peace will persist. Wealth and prosperity will run rampant. Partisan politics will be extinct as soon as the federal government (monarchy king) is limited.

    It doesn’t belongs in EVERYTHING, EVERY-STATE, EVERY JOB, EVERY PERSONAL LIFE……. That is not the function of the national government; It has to stop if the USA is to survive.

  7. Coronavirus adalah sebuah rekayasa yang dilakukan manusia untuk menguasai dunia

    1. Fuck you, Chinaman!

      (And for any Reason “associate editor” with no sense of humor and too much time on his hands who happens to see this post, it is sarcasm, albeit unrepentantly un-woke.)

  8. For the most part, regulations are based on a cost-benefit analysis. Take, for example, medical professional working across state lines. If they could do that in normal times, what would happen is the industry would lobby one state to lower their standards to almost nothing, then states would get flooded with unqualified medial personnel and the states could not do anything about it (same reason you can’t by insurance across state lines). But now, temporarily, the risk of having not enough medical staff where they are needed is greater, so the regulations get loosened. But that in no way means that the regulations were unnecessary in the first place.

    1. Whatever you are talking about probably fits well under the “Commerce Clause”.. (state-to-state commerce) The Constitution really is that well-written.

      Most of today’s federal regulation doesn’t fit any enumerated power and proves to be unnecessary ALL OF THE TIME.

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  11. #8 is odd. There is nothing in HIPAA that prohibits transmission of information between a doctor and patient. How is FaceTime, Skype and similar methods any different from the information we transmit via normal telephone/fax all the time?

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  13. The public isn’t “really in danger,” for fuck’s sake. When 99.8% of the people who get sick with something recover from it, there only danger remaining is from credulous retards who destroy people’s lives because they can’t rationally assess life’s risks.

  14. Disappointing to see foul language substituted for good writing.

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