Column: Biden’s campaign commitment on COVID-19 actions falling short

COVID home test handouts
Bronx residents brave the December weather to wait on line at a free at-home COVID-19 test distribution near Fordham Road.
Photo Pablo D. Castillo Jr.

The Biden administration’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic is increasingly chaotic, perhaps causing more problems than it is solving.

It is a marked contrast to the Trump White House’s initial gains in fighting the pandemic, which included the development in record time of a vaccine, and the suspension of travel from affected nations, a move Democrats harshly criticized as being “xenophobic.”

As it became evident that the disease was developing new variants that ended hopes the plague would burn itself out in a timely manner, the need for increased availability of testing was evident. Predictions warned that up to 140 million Americans would be infected from January through March.

Noting that there were indications this was on the horizon, President Biden promised that up to 500 million tests would be made available. For reasons that remain unknown, this was not accomplished in anything resembling a timely fashion. As a result, across the nation, long lines formed at medical facilities, spurred in part by an avalanche of state and local mandates requiring proof of vaccination or negative tests for normal functions such as eating in restaurants, attending schools, and other activities.

Despite numerous warnings that crowds should be avoided, vast numbers of people who need to be tested for work, school, employment, travel or dining mingled for hours in close contact on lines with those seeking testing based on suspicion of having the disease — a true and enhanced super-spreader event in and of itself.

As winter made its annual impact, those long lines produced new dangers. Waiting outside in frigid temperatures and inclement weather, even in normal times, gives rise to catching colds and flu infections. Even if a miracle occurred and COVID vanished, the resultant disorders caused by that activity would produce a variety of health issues. Adding to the vulnerability of the population is the effect of the lockdowns, particularly in “Blue” states, in lowering resistance to the more normal problems that occur each winter.

Far too often, COVID has been employed as an excuse to implement Progressive ideological goals. On Dec. 21, 2021, the Bureau of Prisons decided that those incarcerated criminals temporarily released on the excuse of preventing the spread of COVID in the prison system may be allowed to continue their absence. The irrational emptying out of prisons has long been a goal of the left.

Similarly, the distribution of funds from Washington for various purposes has been a policy strongly favored by Progressives. The very real economic problems brought about by COVID were, not always incorrectly, addressed by federal dollars distributed to those individuals, institutions and businesses in very real need.

Unfortunately, a portion of those dollars were misused. The U.S. Secret Service, in coordination with the Department of Labor and the Small Business Administration’s Office of Inspector General, and the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee has had to respond to significant fraud regarding that funding. The Secret Service has named Assistant Special Agent in Charge Roy Dotson as the National Pandemic Fraud Recovery Coordinator. In this role, Dotson will coordinate efforts across multiple ongoing Secret Service investigations into the fraudulent use of COVID-19 relief applications, with potential fraudulent activity nearing $100 billion.

While fraud related to personal protective equipment was of primary concern to law enforcement, including the Secret Service, early in the pandemic, the release of federal funding through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, known as the CARES Act, has attracted the attention of individuals and organized criminal networks worldwide.

Fraud aside, the chief concern of the American public was, justifiably, the failure of the Biden administration to distribute the testing kits and facilities that clearly were needed to prevent the unnecessary long lines that were themselves super spreader events.

Ironically, President Biden, who continually pushed for more federal action as a candidate, told governors in a recent phone call that the problem was largely theirs to solve.

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