The [Retrospective] Biden Plan for Dealing with the Coronavirus.

            Here’s a hard truth.  According to the New York Times, “While the federal government has authority over interstate and foreign quarantine measures, states have the primary authority to impose and enforce quarantine and isolation measures within their own borders, as part of the police powers conferred to states by the 10th Amendment of the Constitution,…” According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, “states and cities are responsible for announcing curfews, shelters in place, or other restrictions and safety measures.”[1]  Joe Biden’s criticism of Donald Trump’s unquestionable mishandling of the corona virus pandemic needs to be seen in this light. 

Biden: “[I]f [Trump] had listened to me and others and acted just one week earlier to deal with this virus, there’d be 36,000 fewer people dead.”[2] 

NYT: “[T]here is no record of Mr. Biden urging adoption of those measures before March 8, nor does Mr. Trump have the power to compel their nationwide enforcement.”  “[W]hile the presidential pulpit might have incentivized governors and mayors to act quicker, Mr. Trump lacks the authority to impose and enforce quarantine and isolation measures in states and cities.” 

Furthermore, Biden “did not suggest locking down cities or limiting social gatherings.” 

Biden: Without a uniform plan and guidance from the federal government that state and local leaders can use to inform their reopening plans, this is going to continue to be worse than it would’ve been otherwise.” 

NYT: “Though they were nonbinding and criticized by some as vague, the White House did release guidelines in mid-April about “opening up American again”.”  “Of the 30 states that had planned to begin reopening in early May, most had failed to meet those guidelines.” 

            Joe Biden spent the years from 1970 to 2016 as a public employee, often an important one.  You would think that he knows the distribution of powers under the Constitution.  Or you would think that he at least reads the newspapers.  Apparently not. 

            President Trump could have done much more to encourage responsible behavior on the part of his supporters, but he did not.  That’s putting it mildly.   

State governors and city mayors deserve much of the blame or credit for their response to the coronavirus.[3]  That’s where the real authority lay. 

            Possibly another hard truth.  We’re likely to have a reliable vaccine by the end of 2020 or early 2021.  Joe Biden will be inaugurated as President pro tempore in March 2021.  A massive production effort, already under preparation, will make mass vaccination possible by Spring or early Summer 2021.  Biden will claim credit for having whipped the coronavirus. 


[1] Linda Qiu,  https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/14/us/politics/trump-authority.html

[2] Linda Qiu, “Fact-Checking Biden on the Coronavirus and His Own Record,” NYT, 11 July 2020.  “A study by infectious disease modelers at Columbia University [found]… that about 36,000 deaths could have been prevented through early May had social distancing measures been enacted by March 8, rather than in mid-March.”

[3] For an example, see: https://waroftheworldblog.com/2020/04/22/chronology-of-a-tragedy/