Via Economic Policy Journal

By Robert Wenzel

I am highly suspicious of the news media hype surrounding the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19).

There are very strong indications that the virus is not much different than the common flu, where no dramatic actions are taken by governments of the world and people go about their daily lives taking common-sense precautions.

Nevertheless, let us for the moment take the view that COVID-19 is a much more serious virus where much more stringent precautions should be taken than those we now take against the flu. How would the private property society deal with the virus as opposed to government?

The first thing to keep in mind is that government actions surrounding COVID-19 are largely inept central planning efforts that should be left to the private sector to get much more efficient results.

Consider, the government is in charge of testing, which leads to typical central planning horror stories and lack of supply.

The Left is trying to blame this on President Trump but this is just typical failure of government central planning. There are solutions out there.

Given a free market, why wouldn’t businesses race to provide such tests, instead of the current system where doctors and patients must beg the government for tests in typical government rationing as a solution protocol?

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Then there is the latest scam from the government claiming that masks don’t work for protection against the virus. Masks are “not effective” at preventing the coronavirus, says the U.S. surgeon general.

“Seriously people — STOP BUYING MASKS!” the surgeon general, Jerome M. Adams, said in a tweet on Saturday morning. “They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus, but if health care providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!”

Well, if they are not effective for the general public, how are they effective for healthcare workers?

The government’s fallback position is that people don’t know how to properly wear the masks. But this is a problem with an easy solution. If drug stores weren’t so frozen into following government orders rather than being creative, they might come up with ways to serve their customers instead of hustling government promoted sketchy vaccines. Why not, say, teach people how to wear the masks? Either by having an individual ready to do so when a mask is sold or in-store classes to do so if it is complicated.

Hey, Walgreen’s and CVS wake up out of your led by the government stupors.

But the most important thing one can do as a result of a new virus, where the private sector has not yet developed treatments and vaccines, is to isolate from the general public to the degree one is concerned.

If you really fear COVID-19, stay at home. No draconian orders required for the president to put an entire area under lockdown. If you are not concerned about the virus, well then, carry about your usual routine. This is not complicated. Why would a president have to step in with authoritarian dictates? In the PPS, those who want to take caution to the extreme can do so, those that don’t should be free to move about.

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Businesses can adopt policies that lower the risk of catching the disease, if they believe such actions are what customers want.

For example, there have to be more bacteria on door handles then pretty much anywhere else. Macy’s and major malls could place gloved uniformed doormen who open and close the entry and exit doors for customers. They can place uniformed “Virus Fighters” at the escalators and wipe down the handrail for each customer. They can put gloved uniformed elevator operators to push (operate) the elevators like in the old days. Would this cost too much? Not, necessarily in a free market if the customers really want the service. (And, under current anti-free market regulations, Macy’s and mall owners should go to governments to get exemptions from minimum wages for new hire “Virus Fighter” employees. Exemptions would apply to anyone that is applying for their first job or is unable to find a job at the current minimum wage.)

Are people going to be scared about attending major sporting events or concerts. Maybe it would make sense for venue operators to place temperature readers to read everyone’s temperature before ticket holders enter a venue, and prevent anyone who has a fever.

Maybe a service would emerge where individuals are tested and receive some sort of identification that they have been tested and are COVID-19 free. And certain venues might require an up to date test for entrance.

Bottom line, I can see much more potential for creativity and solutions to this new emerging virus from the free market and the general PPS, rather than the current mind-block situation where everyone is sitting around waiting for orders from the government, which is an organization that is structured in a manner that creates inefficiencies and suffocates creativity and loves the iron fist of orders over having to come up with solutions that customers would prefer.

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And,  of course, if a group of property owners in an area want to prevent outsiders from visiting during a period of heightened concern,  there is no problem with this and it can be done right away in a PPS without having to wait for some presidential edict.

End the CDC! End the FDA!