JD Tuccille at Reason has some well pointed words about leadership during the current pandemic – Stop Looking for ‘Leadership’ During the COVID-19 Outbreak
As the COVID-19 pandemic hit the U.S., pundits and opposition politicians pounded President Trump for displaying a “lack of leadership” in response to the deadly virus. And it’s true that, as always, the president was prone to minimizing inconvenient developments, bristling at critics, and contradicting members of his own team. Without a strong, focused figure in the White House (maybe somebody less deplorable?), we can’t possibly pull through this crisis, the opponents suggested. But that’s ridiculous; anybody making their responses to events contingent on political office not being held by narcissistic ass-clowns is putting their fate in the hands of circumstances they can’t control. They’re making a false virtue of dependency.
That’s not to say we shouldn’t listen to people who have expertise. Epidemiologists shared widely reported warnings in January of “the spread of 2019-nCov within and outside mainland China.”
“The more we learn about it, the greater the possibility is that transmission will not be able to be controlled with public health measures,” Toronto-based Allison McGeer, an infectious disease specialist, cautioned at roughly the same time.
Even China’s awful political rulers, who muzzled medical whistleblowers after they warned of the disease (there’s leadership!), admitted by the end of the month that the situation was out of control.
Just weeks later, the World Health Organization, as clumsy and prone to stroking authoritarian regimes as it is, said the virus had “pandemic potential,” while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned of “severe” disruptions to American life from “community spread” of the new virus.
Anybody paying attention had the opportunity to get ready for what was coming—if they were allowed to do so by our fearless leaders.
It’s worth noting that, when political officials act, their most positive efforts come from getting out of the way—that is, by undoing the “leadership” they demonstrated on earlier matters.
President Trump announced “compassionate use” easing of restrictions on patients’ use of drugs that don’t yet have FDA approval for treating COVID-19.
Congress extended liability protection for makers of protective N95 face masks so that hospitals can directly purchase equipment that isn’t specifically approved for medical purposes under cumbersome FDA rules.
Eased regulation enforcement, announced by the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS), means the government won’t take action against health insurers who modify their catastrophic plans to cover COVID-19 diagnosis and treatment for their customers.
Licensed physicians can also now practice across state lines, under CMS waivers that ease a host of other rules that bind the practice of medicine in red tape. The feds played catch-up on that one: states including Arizona, California, Florida, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Washington had already moved to ease restrictive licensing of medical providers before the feds jumped on the issue.
Even the Transportation Security Administration is joining in, modifying its insistence that doom is found in any liquid container of more than 3.4 ounce capacity so that travelers can carry 12-ounce bottles of hand sanitizer on airplanes.
“The coronavirus is forcing authorities to admit many of their regulations are unnecessary,” Reason‘s Nick Gillespie noted…(continues)