WSJ: Biden's COVID-19 plan "is Mr. Trump’s without the bluster"

The Editorial Board of the Wall Street Journal published an op-ed Friday evening which served to fact check Joe Biden’s plan to combat COVID-19 if he is elected as president in November. The board calls Biden’s plan a me-too COVID plan.

While the media couldn’t say enough glowing words about Slow Joe’s acceptance speech at the Democrat convention, what came through to some of us is that there are no new ideas or plans coming from the Biden campaign on pretty much any subject. That is especially true when it comes to how a Biden administration would handle the coronavirus pandemic. Spoiler alert: a Biden administration would handle it just as the Trump administration is handling it but with softer and gentler words. And, of course, Biden wouldn’t point a finger at the Communist Chinese for inflicting the plague on the United States because, well, Hunter has bills to pay and Joey B. can get along with everyone, or something.

We know this election revolves around Trump and his administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and on the economy. Re-elections are always about how the incumbent handled the big pressing issues of the day. 2020 has been like no other year that any of us have ever seen. Joey B. wants to run as a savior to Americans in his ability to contain and extinguish the pandemic. He has no such record after 50 years as an elected public servant but never mind that little inconvenient truth. The Ebola pandemic and the H1N1 pandemic (swine flu) were not the same as the coronavirus that we are now battling in the U.S. Both are still with us, by the way, as COVID-19 will be with us for the foreseeable future, too. No one can wave a magic wand and do away with these viruses, not even St. Joe. Ebola is transmitted through direct contact with infected blood and body fluids. I have kept an eye on Ebola outbreaks for a long time and there are reports as recent as this morning as I write this that Congo is experiencing a new outbreak that is alarming local health officials. The point being that Team Obama with Joe at the helm didn’t rid the world of that virus any more than they did the swine flu, which is more like the current coronavirus. Both COVID-19 and the H1N1 virus are spread through airborne transmission.

So, what exactly would Joe Biden do? The dirty little secret is that while Democrats are railing against Trump’s coronavirus response and accusing him of deliberately murdering people, the Trump administration’s response has been much better than he is given credit. Everything that Biden offers up has already been done by Trump or is being done by Trump and his team of experts. We’ll start with testing and move forward from that.

Start with testing. Mr. Biden promises to “develop and deploy rapid tests with results available immediately.” Great—the Food and Drug Administration in the past week has approved two new rapid tests that can be scaled up quickly.

The FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention botched the initial testing rollout. And earlier this summer, shortages of chemical reagents and lab equipment led to delays in processing tests amid a surge of infections. But supply-chain hiccups are gradually being worked out. The U.S. is now conducting 700,000 or so tests a day, up from about 400,000 in early June and 100,000 in late March.

The CDC and the FDA botched it in the beginning – it’s not the fault of the president that those two agencies dropped the ball. New tests like the saliva test developed by Yale University are cheap and can be readily available to the public.

How about Biden’s call for “a coordinated, country-wide, future-facing national effort to acquire, produce, and distribute PPE, test kits and machines, lab supplies, and other critical supplies, including by fully utilizing the authorities”? Well, Trump is already doing that through the Defense Production Act.

Biden wants to hire 100,000 federal employees to do contact tracing. States are already doing this, though, and the fact is that contact tracing isn’t useful in coronavirus hot spots, while the virus is raging through communities. There is also the problem that people being trained as contact tracers haven’t shown a lot of promise in their success. Government programs that train workers are dysfunctional and inefficient. My own city of Houston is experiencing problems with getting a handle on doing contact tracing efficiently. Lots of taxpayer money is being wasted on poor training and bad policies.

And about a vaccine – Biden promises to “ramp up the large-scale manufacturing of as many vaccine candidates as necessary.” Well, that is already being done now, too. The same is true with searching for therapeutic drug therapies. Hey, do you think a vaccine may be the October surprise in this election cycle?

The Trump Administration and private industry are already on that. Health and Human Services this spring issued a $628 million contract to Emergent BioSolutions, a private firm, to coordinate with vaccine developers ramping up manufacturing capacity.

The Administration has contracted with Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca for hundreds of millions of dosages as soon as their vaccines are proven safe and effective in trials. Pfizer and BioNTech said this week that their vaccine is on track to seek regulatory approval as early as October.

The National Institutes of Health is also funding the most promising treatments. Last month the Trump Administration signed a contract with Regeneron to manufacture 300,000 doses of its antibody cocktail by the end of the summer. Mr. Biden’s proposals for price controls and threats to prosecute health-care executives would blunt the incentive to develop therapies and vaccines.

The first thing the Trump administration did was put together a White House coronavirus task force with experienced medical experts and Trump shut down air travel coming from China, then some air travel from Europe and elsewhere. Joe Biden was busy calling Trump a xenophobe and racist during that time.

Biden wants more money going to schools to deal with educating students during the pandemic. Trump is doing that and offering incentives to re-open, which is something that has to happen at some point.

Joe’s inner authoritarian is waiting to spring forward, should he win the election. Besides the standard arrogant talking point that he listens to scientists (because ignorant Republicans don’t believe in science, you know) he said he’ll just lockdown the national economy if he has his way. He’d be listening to scientists that agree with him, you see. Never mind that there is no such thing as the scientific community marching in lockstep on almost any issue.

The Trump administration is doing all the right things. Sure, it was a rough start and Trump didn’t help things by downplaying the outbreak but he was trying to keep the public calm while everyone scrambled to get into action. No president in our lifetimes has dealt with a year like 2020. Obama and Biden botched the N1H1 outbreak and ignored the Ebola pandemic until they couldn’t do so anymore. We remember. For Biden now to accuse Trump of mishandling the coronavirus pandemic and Democrats to go as far as to say Trump is murdering over 170,000 people because of his incompetence is unconscionable, even for them.