As the COVID-19 crisis spreads around the world, it puts immense pressure on healthcare systems, including those in the United States. In order to meet the needs of doctors, clinics, and hospitals, the White House is partnering with businesses to produce and distribute needed supplies to hospitals in affected states.
Businesses are helping in different ways based on their specialties and production capabilities. For example, Ford and GM are transitioning their factories from building cars to assembling ventilators and personal protective equipment, while companies such as Bacardi and L’Oréal are shifting from producing alcoholic beverages and cosmetics to bottling hand sanitizer. Carbon and HP are using their cutting edge resources to 3-D print swabs for coronavirus tests and face shields for medical workers. My Pillow and Space X are also producing hand sanitizer and face shields, and Elon Musk announced earlier this week that Tesla acquired more than 1,000 ventilators from China and is shipping them to the United States for use in hospitals. Additionally, Apple and Facebook donated facemasks to hospitals in regions hardest hit by COVID-19.
The efforts being undertaken by private sector companies in the U.S. go beyond critical supplies and equipment. Uber is suspending delivery fees when customers order food from local restaurants, and U-Haul is offering 30 days of free storage to any college students who are being forced to leave school early due to the virus.
While there is a proper role for our government to play in coordinating our response to COVID-19, the White House also recognizes the abilities of private sector companies to efficiently produce and quickly distribute supplies where they are needed most. The best way to speed up America’s relief efforts is to make it as easy as possible for private entities to deploy their resources.
Each business has its own supply chain and processes that they understand best, and no government bureaucrat can potentially understand all of the differences and alter them to be more efficient than how they currently exist. The government should continue to work with private companies and trust that each business knows best how to use its resources to fight COVID-19.
The response to the virus has clearly shown the benefits of a vibrant private sector. If we want to step up our efforts to combat the virus, we should encourage innovation and expertise from businesses while setting unnecessary government regulation out of the way.
Karl Stahlfeld is the associate director of YAF’s Center for Entrepreneurship & Free Enterprise