The world as we knew it just three months ago is no longer a reality – at least for the foreseeable future. The U.S. continues to fight against the coronavirus pandemic, and with that fight has come a reintroduction into the role of government, supply chains, the healthcare system, and even facemasks. But among this seemingly constant referendum on our country, one factor that appears to be too often forgotten is the power of the very system that we’ve fought tooth and nail to preserve.
I’m talking about the free market and private industry.
This doesn’t mean that the government doesn’t play a significant role in a global pandemic. Of course, it does – primarily, the federal government’s best role has been protecting overall public health, monitoring capacity and providing guidance, and stepping in as appropriate to help advance the fight. But it’s best role has also been putting its money where its mouth is with supporting research and development and stepping out of the way to allow the American free market and innovation to rise to the occasion.
In unprecedented times, we naturally gravitate toward leaders and organizations that don’t wait to put solutions on the table. That is exactly what American private industry is doing, even if it’s going more unnoticed during this time. We don’t know how long or how far we’ll have to go for the end of the coronavirus, but we can infer that the private industry is going to be the pipeline for the solution.
The ultimate answer – a vaccine or lifesaving therapeutics and treatments – is already being pushed by the private sector. Pharmaceutical companies are taking the existing research and development infrastructure that is fostered here in the U.S. and are using it at record pace. We now have dozens of candidates for a vaccine that are moving ahead at speeds not thought possible. Companies such as Moderna are already showing progress, and Pfizer has committed a whopping one billion investment. Instead of putting all our eggs in one basket and favoring one company over the other, we’re allowing the market to do its part and that’s a good thing.
The movement by the private sector isn’t just making progress for the end result. Governor Reynolds and IDPH are distributing the drug Remdesivir, which has been found to help with some COVID-19 treatment. Several manufacturing companies including those in the auto industry have rapidly revamped their operations to meet the demand of the country’s shortages of PPE and ventilators.
Today’s reality is a completely new normal, but we know from experience where to look toward for solutions. The government has defined its roles and is playing its part. But the best thing that President Trump and Iowa officials have done in this fight is cutting the red tape and unleashing what the private sectors do best. Harnessing this free market, and not a big government wish list, will lead us out of this storm in the fastest and most effective way possible.