The goal here is to expand and enhance the discussion with additional ideas and references. Be certain to cite some Biblical principle.
According to States Divided: The implications of Federalism for COVID-19 Kettl suggests the United States failed to carry out an appropriate response to the COVID-19 pandemic due to President Trumps failure to carry out a clear role. As a result 400,000 people have perished due to the virus as of the writing of this article in march 2020.
The president wrote a letter to Senator Charles Schumer explaining the philosophy of the Federal Government through the Federal Emergency Management Agency FEMA is to provide back-up support to state governments. The country was slow to quarantine and slow to make masks mandatory because long time director of the National Institutes of Allergies and Infectious Diseases Dr Anthony Fauci failed to recommend masks, closing of international flights and social distancing very early on and whether or not to require comprehensive testing during the course of the pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic was unlike other disasters because it was visible to the naked eye, therefore the roots of the problem were unclear and the method on how to slow it and treat it were unclear and the scale was far greater than any other disaster of its kind. (Kettle, 2020)
President Trump invoked the Stafford Act declaring a state of National Emergency but procurement of ventilators and COVID -19 tests remained up to the states. There were supply problems and availability of test kits as well as ventilators were limited.
Federalism requires a mutual obligation between the states and the federal government which corresponds to the Federal Emergency management agency FEMA doctrine which is to supply administrative , logistical and financial support to state and local governments when their resources are over whelmed.
The federal government was accused of never framing a national strategy to deal with the virus and never spoke with a clear national voice on how to handle the pandemic. (Kettl, 2020)
The federal government however did come up with a national strategy which was to mobilize the NIH and private industry to come up with novel vaccines with novel mechanisms of action and to submit these works in progress to the FDA for emergency use Authorization EUA and Biologics License Applications BLA’s. So using the resources of the Federal Government to support private industry and Academia accelerated testing, supply, development and distribution of safe and effective vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics to counter COVID-19 by January 2021.
Vaccines shipped to administration sites : pharmacies, nursing homes, public clinics, hospitals, doctors offices, mobile clinics, Military Treatment Facilities [MTFs], and Veterans administration [VA] clinics and hospitals from distribution facilities with ancillary supplies such as syringes, alcohol pads, sharps containers to provide immunizations to the patients. Maximization of existing pharmacy infrastructure supports ordering , distribution and administration with 24 months pharmacovigilance by the FDA and the CDC. Analytics provided by the CDC and FDA are provided to Johns Hopkins University, the University of Washington and the University of Texas to develop models for future planning. The entire process is known as Operation Warp Speed. (. )
If we examine the countries with the highest death rates per one hundred thousand put forth in the review we find develop countries and those countries with high amounts of personal liberty and countries that are Christian based for the most part.
Kettle insinuates federalism should have made the Federal Government come up with a more aggressive testing regimen. In reality testing Polymerase chain reacting PCR for the antigen (virus) and antibodies represents a dilemma because the tests need to be done in coordination with one another to yield useful results. Since the virus was so novel there was an insurmountable lag time to produce the adequate amount of testing kits to yield useful results.
I would suggest regarding the principle of Federalism there exists a covenant between the Federal Government and the states, and the states and the local governments. By using freedom of choice, logic, respect, caring and free will are involved. It is an intelligent caring God who gives us dignity and absolute values of love and justice and the responsibility to keep the covenant [oath]. (Fischer, 2020) Hesed- love and fulfillment of duty and mutual accountability, has been at the foundation of Operation Warp Speed. Decentralization where the focus of responsibility for disaster is at the state and local level primarily with the Federal government providing administrative logistical and financial support when local governments become overwhelmed.
Kettl criticizes federalism stating the grand compromise of James Madison has fed division during the COVID-19 epidemic he compared the US to Germany and how Prime Minister Merkle’s response was more successful than Trump’s by being more forceful at the national level. (Kettl, 2020). Truth be told Germany was not very far behind the US death rate when his review went to publication. “The President is the nominal head of the ‘administration’ but under present conditions the task of coordination is beyond the capacities of the transient occupants of the position.It is the public interest that is the standard that guides the administrator in executing the law. (Herring, 1936)
Fischer,K. (2010) A Biblical-Covenental Perspective on Organizational Behaviour and Leadership. Robbins, Pearson Custom Publishing , 5-25
Herring, E. P. (1936) Public Administration and the Public Interest, McGraw-Hill, 1936 , 346-351
Kettl, D. F. (2020). States Divided: The Implications of American Federalism for COVID‐19. Public Administration Review, 80(4), 595–602. https://doi.org/10.1111/puar.13243