Governments Have Screwed Up Mask Purchase and Distribution. Maybe Everyone Should Be a Libertarian in a Pandemic.

The state can have all the capacity it needs and still get things badly wrong.

by Brian Doherty

The government has not been an efficient or competent dispenser of the masks so vital to protecting health care workers and patients from COVID-19.

As of mid-April, The Wall Street Journal reports, the federal government had for whatever reason dedicated millions in contracts, involving at least 80 percent of the 20 million N95 masks it was trying to procure, from “suppliers that either had never done business with the federal government or had only taken on small prior contracts that didn’t include medical supplies.” Predictably, some of those vendors “missed delivery deadlines or have backed out because of supply problems. The parent company of one supplier is in bankruptcy and its owners have been accused of fraud in lawsuits by multiple business partners.”

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