That is the topic of my latest Bloomberg column, or use this link https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2021-07-27/america-s-covid-policies-are-a-contradictory-mess, some of it you already have heard here from me and from Alex. Excerpt:
The delta variant is sweeping the U.S., and it is significantly more infectious, yet the Centers for Disease Control doesn’t have the data tools to know whether this is an early, middle or late stage of an outbreak. This is after a year and a half of a pandemic that has killed more than 600,000 Americans.
Have you ever wondered whether the U.S. will do better “next time”? Well, the next time is now — and the country is still flailing across some significant dimensions. The inability to do the simple “right thing” is troubling for a number of reasons.
First, when it comes to vaccines, these are bad decisions in their own right — and they are costing human lives, jobs, and economic output.
But the problems run even deeper. In some ways the U.S. is like a basketball player who cannot make a shot from 10 feet. That is almost always a sign that more complex plays are also going awry, even if this can’t always be spotted by outsiders.
Perhaps most important, there is a cascading effect: If you can’t get the simple things right, your capabilities are likely to deteriorate even further. The smartest people in the government lose their morale and move on. For those who remain, self-fulfilling feelings of defeat set in. The U.S. government also loses credibility abroad, in this case most notably with European governments that are (with possible restrictions) letting U.S. citizens into their countries.