by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
David Harsanyi warns National Review Online readers against placing too much emphasis on one health expert’s statements.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief pandemic adviser to President Joe Biden, is a bureaucrat. He’s not our parent, or our personal physician, or a shaman, or our life coach.
“We’ve done worse than most any other country,” Fauci told ABC over the weekend. “And we’re a highly developed rich country.” Fauci went on to say that the United States — on the verge of a ghastly milestone of 500,000 COVID deaths — had failed because of “disparate responses of different states versus the unified approach.”
This story of American ineptitude in the face of a pandemic, popular among statists, pessimists, and left-wingers pining for federalized control over states, is a myth. The United States has performed just as well as most Western nations, where fatality rates are between 100 and 190 per 100,000, with variations most likely due to density, climate, inherent social behavior, or, one imagines, reasons yet to be figured out. This is true before we even begin taking into consideration the disparity in ways nations count fatalities, the meticulousness with which they count them, or the transparency with which they report them.
Countries such as Britain, Belgium, Italy, and Portugal have somewhat higher fatality rates, and others such as Spain, Sweden, and France have a somewhat lower rate, but there’s no evidence that a more centralized plan would have saved American lives during the pandemic. The British, for instance, employ centralized control, with not only a single-payer health-insurance model but also a state that owns all medical facilities and employs all the medical personnel. Yet, to this point, Britain has fared worse during COVID than the United States by every quantifiable measure.
The problems with a centralized approach in a massive and free nation such as the United States, on the other hand, are quite evident. A “unified approach” in this country means the Fauci approach.