Do you remember the fable of the king who was not wearing any clothes? Well, that’s kind of what is happening in the White House right now with the pandemic. President Joe Biden just told the governors that there was “no federal solution” to stop the coronavirus pandemic. He said that challenges needed to be handled at the state level.
Biden made this confession after the Republican governor of Arkansas and chairman of the National Governors Association, Asa Hutchinson, spoke about the challenges in his state as they attempt to respond to the pandemic.
Hutchinson said, “And so one word of concern or encouragement for your team is that as you look towards federal solutions that will help alleviate the challenge, make sure that we do not let federal solution stand in the way of state solutions.” He then added that the production of 500 million rapid tests distributed by the federal government was great, but that it dries up the supply chain for the solutions that he might offer as a governor.
Biden listened and then responded saying, “Look, there is no federal solution. This gets solved at the state level.”
This statement is surprising because the president promised over and over again on the campaign trail that he was going to “shut down the virus.”
It was reported by Fox News that the president put the federal government in a central role to fix the pandemic. The federal government used the Department of Education to open civil rights investigations into several states for banning school mask mandates. Biden has not stopped mandating masks in airports, airplanes, and public transportation. And the White House administration has increased fines for those who will not comply.
Biden’s administration is now going to the Supreme Court to defend its vaccine mandate for private businesses that have more than 100 employees.
After his surprising statement about state responsibility, Biden then talked about the dramatic need to increase testing capacity due to the surge of the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus. He referenced that there were no over-the-counter home tests when he took office and now there are eight on the market. He noted that just the other day a new test was cleared. He bragged that the country went from no over-the-counter tests in January to 46 million in October, 100 million in November, and almost 200 million in December. But Biden said that this was not enough.
Not long after Biden met with the governors, COVID-19 experts from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the Rockefeller Foundation, the COVID Collaborative, and several other organizations, got word from the White House that the bold idea for free home tests for all Americans was dead. This was the plan that would tackle a surge from the Omicron variant during the holidays.
A White House official stated that the federal government could not manufacture over the counter tests at such a large scale.
Dr. Steven Phillips, a vice president of science and strategy for the Covid Collaborative, said that the White House was playing small ball when it came to rapid testing. He said they were bunting the players along.
Dr. Rick Bright, the former director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, expressed surprise that the plan for free tests was shelved. He said it was clear that there was a plan two months ago, and that it was time to get serious about ending the pandemic.
And Dr. Richard Ebright, the Board of Governors Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Rutgers University and Laboratory Director at the Waksman Institute of Microbiology, expressed sadness that Biden’s administration had eleven months to get their act together, but failed utterly.