Coronavirus: Should the COVID-19 Response Be Left to the States?

Joseph VincenziReporter

The COVID-19 outbreak has caused the world economy to grind to a halt, people to close their shutters and entire cities to become lifeless. As a result, both the states and the federal government have moved swiftly to combat the spread of the virus. However, necessary action came too late, and the United States now leads the world by far in coronavirus cases and deaths. 

The response to the coronavirus would be much stronger if the federal government leaves the states to handle the pandemic rather than try to enact radical change in order to stop the virus’s spread. 

Local and statewide powers exist as separate from federal powers in the Constitution for a reason. Not only did the founding fathers want to prevent the federal government from having too much control on people’s lives, but they also knew that a smaller government has a better understanding of its community’s needs and is much more efficient in enforcing laws and policy than the federal government is. 

This understanding of community needs is more important now than it has ever been in our country’s history. For example, in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is working together with Bill DeBlasio and other local governments to try to cap the spread of the virus from New York City.  

Cuomo and DeBlasio, who both work directly with New York’s towns and cities daily, obviously have a much better understanding of the population distribution, business, and activity within the state than the federal government does.  

This would mean that they are not only the most qualified for the responsibility of handling the virus, but they also likely have more effective, immediate solutions for social distancing and cleaning the city than the federal government. 

The same is true right here in Connecticut. Right now, the Moore Athletic Field House has been turned into a facility with beds to hold infected COVID-19 patients. This was done in part by the Connecticut National Guard, which orchestrated moving 250 beds into the facility. Supplies were later shipped by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. 

Such a decision to turn campus facilities into crucial clinics for sick patients could have only been performed by the SCSU Administrators, local and state governments. Would the outcome have looked the same with federal action in Connecticut to provide housing for infected patients? The Moore Field House would most likely have not even been considered for a transformation, and certainly the government would not have put non-COVID-19 patients in student dorms for housing. 

States almost always respond more effectively than the federal government to issues within the state. Each state is literally closer to its population than the federal government, meaning shipping important medical supplies like masks and gloves through and around the state is easier than the U.S. government trying to reach across the country and do everything at once to stem the increase in coronavirus cases. It would simply be too exhausting on the system. 

If America is ever to cleanse itself of this coronavirus pandemic, then sensible, rational, quick action is required by everyone. For everyone to work together to fight the coronavirus, the states must step up and do their part in the war against COVID-19; waiting for the federal government is simply not an option. 

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