Post #761: This is what absence of leadership looks like: Dinosaurs

Posted on July 19, 2020

Notice, I’m not saying “intelligent leadership”.  I’m not even saying “effective leadership”.  Just “leadership”.

This brings together all my “school of hard knocks” posts.  And related.  And boils down to dinosaurs.  We, in the US, have become dinosaurs.  Ponderous, slow, fundamentally stupid — dinosaurs.

Recall that, three months+ ago, I, a no-credentials blogger (eh, well, Ph.D. economist), talked about the German use of pooled testing for COVID-19, in a math-oriented post (Post #605).

That’s German, as in Germany, the country.  The country that is succeeding in dealing with COVID-19.

Three.  @#$(ing.  Months.

And today, we find out that the US FDA has issued an “emergency” authorization to allow some (not all, but some) US labs to do something like what the Germans were doing three months ago.

You do have to wonder what their definition of “emergency” is.

Not stupid enough for you yet?  Let’s look at some direct quotes:

FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn said in the statement. “Sample pooling becomes especially important as infection rates decline and we begin testing larger portions of the population.”

Yeah, that’s really what’s key right now.  We really have to be looking forward to the point where infection rates decline.

Ah, let’s just finish this with one final quote:

“Quest said in a statement it expects to deploy the testing technique at two of its laboratories by the end of next week, and additional laboratories will follow.”

Two laboratories.  End of next week.

For those of you who have no professional interest in health care, Quest is, (I think) the largest laboratory services provider in the USA. If they aren’t #1, then they are #2.

And, maybe, two of their labs, next week, might be set up for this.

Better watch out.   I hear there’s an ice age coming.

See, the thing is, bureaucracies, in and of themselves, may eventually get to the right answers.  But bureaucracies are, by their nature, ponderously slow.

That’s why you need leadership.  Something that countries outside the US have had, to varying degrees.

But absent that, the you get what we’re getting.  Eventually, we’ll probably get something close to the right answers to whatever questions actually got asked.

And that’s our COVID-19 response, in a leadership vacuum.