This is Gabriel Rench with your CrossPolitic Daily News Brief for Monday, March 30th, 2020.
Trump extends federal social distancing guidelines to April 30
President Donald Trump said Sunday he would extend nationwide social distancing guidelines for another 30 days, an abrupt back-down from his push to reopen the country as coronavirus continues to spread.
The 15-day guidelines Trump announced two weeks ago were set to expire on Monday, and the President had suggested over the past week that he was looking to relax them, at least in some parts of the country. He even floated Easter, on April 12, as a potential date by which the country could return to normal.
But on Sunday he said he’d decided to extend the guidelines — which include suggested limits on large gatherings — to April 30, a sign his earlier predictions were overly rosy.
“The better you do, the faster this whole nightmare will end,” the President said Sunday at a White House news conference. He said he would be finalizing a new plan and strategy early this week and announcing the details on Tuesday.
The announcement marked an abrupt turnaround from a week ago when Trump said he was convinced the distancing restrictions were causing irreparable damage to the economy.
The United States badly bungled coronavirus testing—but things may soon improve
According to Science Mag as reported on February 28th: “The World Health Organization (WHO) has shipped testing kits to 57 countries. China had five commercial tests on the market 1 month ago and can now do up to 1.6 million tests a week; South Korea has tested 65,000 people so far. The U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in contrast, has done only 459 tests since the epidemic began. The rollout of a CDC-designed test kit to state and local labs has become a fiasco because it contained a faulty reagent. Labs around the country eager to test more suspected cases—and test them faster—have been unable to do so. No commercial or state labs have the approval to use their own tests.
In what is already an infamous snafu, CDC initially refused a request to test a patient in Northern California who turned out to be the first probable COVID19 case without known links to an infected person…
The situation may soon improve. State labs and commercial diagnostic developers hope to win approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for their own tests, and FDA and CDC on Wednesday agreed on a workaround for the faulty CDC kit—which has a problem that is not essential to its proper functioning—so that it can now be used by at least some of the state labs that have it.”
Also “In late February, the CDC’s deputy director of infectious disease projected calm in a conference call with state laboratories. The labs were told they could now send samples to the CDC and receive results within 24 hours.
“That was a bald-faced lie,” said Wadford. At that point, she was waiting four to five days on test results for samples she had sent to the CDC.
“The most disappointing part was that they couldn’t just be frank and straight with us,” said Wadford, who took detailed notes of the conference call that she dictated to USA TODAY. “Tell us the situation. Don’t sugarcoat it and lie. But to mislead us is just not right.”
Cato summarizes this: “The blunders appear to have stemmed from a “government knows best” mentality that has hobbled the private‐sector response. Governments tend to spin messages, erect barriers to private efforts, and act with overconfidence yet fail to deliver. These same sorts of problems exacerbated the damage in other major disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina discussed here.
With coronavirus testing, the federal government appears to have made numerous mistakes. According to the WSJ article, government hindered private testing because of concerns about accuracy, yet the CDC’s own test was inaccurate. The CDC told the states its testing capacity was adequate, but that was proved wrong as demand soared. Private labs were required to use the CDC’s testing method, but that resulted in depleting the materials needed for that test. Private labs were dissuaded from pursuing testing by officials who said they had it covered. Finally, the FDA put up bureaucratic barriers to private test development, such as requiring special permissions.
Thankfully, the government has changed course and the CDC and FDA are fixing these problems. America is counting on federal health agencies to succeed in this crisis, so I hope some broader lessons are learned. Top‐down controls, misinformation, barriers to private efforts, and treating the private sector as a bit player are common mistakes in disaster response.”
So note that the FDA put up special barriers to private companies who were working working on COVID19 test, so that the CDC could get their testing out first to the market.
This brings me to the Certificate of Need laws:
In 36 states and the District of Columbia, a healthcare provider hoping to open or expand her patient offerings must first prove to regulators that her community needs the service.
Providers can spend years and burn through tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars to prove this need and thus obtain what is called a “certificate of need” (or CON). The CON process can be required for both small and large investments: from hospital beds and gamma knives to new hospitals and neo-natal intensive care units.
Originally intended to discourage the use of expensive technologies and procedures, in many states a CON is now required for relatively lower-cost modes of care such as ambulatory surgery centers and for services unlikely to be over-prescribed such as drug-rehabilitation services and hospice care.
The federal government once required states to have CON rules in order to obtain certain federal funds. But since the repeal of that mandate in the late 1980s, a substantial minority have done away with their CON programs. Of those that have retained the regulation, many have scaled it back. In June, Florida moved to eliminate its CON requirements for new hospitals, specialty hospitals converting to general hospitals, and for a raft of other service providers such as children’s care and substance abuse hospitals.
Using decades’ worth of state data, researchers can compare outcomes in CON and non-CON states. These statistical analyses include control variables that account for possibly confounding factors such as local economic and demographic patterns.
Their findings are consistent with economic theory: CON laws seem to limit access to healthcare, fail to increase the quality of care, and contribute to higher costs. I take each of these in turn.
The strongest evidence on the effects of CON relates to access to care. Economic theory predicts that a CON law will restrict the supply of healthcare services, and that once repealed, patients will tend to access greater levels of care.
Indeed, researchers have found that states that have removed these rules have more hospitals and more ambulatory surgery centers per capita. They also have more hospital beds, dialysis clinics, and hospice care facilities. Patients in non-CON states are more likely to utilize medical imaging technologies and less likely to leave their communities in search of care. Though CON advocates sometimes claim that the rules protect rural facilities, states without CON laws have more rural hospitals and more rural ambulatory surgery centers than states with CON laws.”
It is these CON regulations that are limiting NYC hospitals from being able to expand during an influx of a pandemic. This is why the State of New York is building four temporary hospitals right now to cover the needs of the COVID19 pandemic. So, the New York restricts hospitals ability to expand, and then comes in with four temporary hospitals to save the day. Got it.
Arrest comes as churches grapple with quarantines
“In Florida, The River at Tampa Bay Church remained open Sunday to the public despite a “Safer At Home” order issued by the county — an order that includes places of worship. While the church is encouraged sick parishioners to stay home and view services online, the church said in a statement that it felt obligated to stay open.
“We expect our police and firefighters to be ready and available to rescue and to help and to keep the peace,” the church said in a statement. “The Church is another one of those essential services. It is a place where people turn for help and for comfort in a climate of fear and uncertainty. Therefore, we feel that it would be wrong for us to close our doors on them, at this time, or any time.”
On Monday, Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office arrested the church’s pastor, Rodney Howard-Browne.
“His reckless disregard for human life put hundreds of people in his congregation at risk, and thousands of residents who may interact with them this week in danger,” Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said.
The River wasn’t the only large church to hold services on Sunday. In Turtlecreek Township, Ohio — just north of Cincinnati — Solid Rock Church has held in-person services the last two Sundays, despite a “Stay At Home” order from Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine.
Ohio’s order does not give guidance to specifically to churches, though it does ban “gatherings of any size”.”
The concept of true authority, has left the building. The government does not have authority to lock me in my house and the government does not have the authority to shut down church worship services. God gave each government, Family, Church, and Civil govt, true authority. Abraham Kuyper called this idea “sphere sovereignty”. Part of what reformation and revival looks like, is recovering the Lordship of Christ over all forms of God-given governments.
More on this on Wednesday for our Mid-week fix.
This is Gabriel Rench with Crosspolitic News. Support Rowdy Christian media and join our club at fightlaughfeast.com. We really can’t grow without our club members support, so please consider joining our club. Just three starbucks cups of coffee a month, you get a Fight Laugh Feast t-shirt, discount to our annual conference, and access to master classes on parenting, Christian business principles, God and Government, and backstage interviews with people like Voddie Baucham, Douglas Wilson, James White, Tom Ascol, Erick Erickson, and David French. You can find all our shows on our app, which you can download at your favorite app store, just search “Fight Laugh Feast”. Lastly, we hope to meet you at our first annual Fight Laugh Feast Conference in Nashville, TN October 1st through the 3rd. Go to fightlaughfeast.com to register now. Have a great day. Lord bless