Commentary: The Private Sector Will Play a Key Role in Combating Coronavirus in Ohio

by Ken Blackwell


President Trump’s emphasis on collaborating with U.S. businesses will go a long way toward allowing us to curb the coronavirus outbreak in Ohio and across the country.

The President has been hard at work implementing a bold and innovative strategy to address the evolving global health crisis. In addition to restrictions on international travel, which limited the early spread of the disease in our communities, President Trump has also negotiated deals with some of America’s largest businesses, which are eager to do their part to stop the coronavirus pandemic.

The White House recently announced that major health insurers have agreed to go above and beyond for COVID-19 patients, including waiving copays on coronavirus testing and extending coverage for coronavirus treatment. “[T]tremendous progress is being made,” President Trump said during a recent press conference, adding that insurers are willing to go beyond the call of duty to help the administration combat the outbreak.

The agreement with health insurance companies is only part of the President’s effort to forge a coronavirus response coalition with the private sector. He recently announced, for instance, that some of America’s largest retailers, including CVS, Walgreens, Target, and Walmart, have agreed to let authorities use their parking lots for drive-through COVID-19 testing, which began last Saturday.

“[W]e’ve been in discussions with pharmacies and retailers to make drive-thru tests available in the critical locations identified by public health professionals,” the President explained, adding that the goal of the partnership is to help Americans get tested “without having to leave your car.”

More importantly, the Trump administration has also partnered with Google to create a website that will help individuals with self-evaluation and symptom management. “Google is partnering with the U.S. Government in developing a nationwide website that includes information about COVID-19 symptoms, risk and testing information,” the company announced on Twitter, in response to news reports that disputed the notion. The tech giant is also planning to widen free access to its premium digital office services to help small businesses work remotely in the coming months.

All of these measures are destined to make a huge difference in Ohio, where state authorities have taken bold steps of their own to limit the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Governor Mike Dewine has already ordered the closing of all bars and restaurants in order to limit unnecessary social gatherings and stop the spread of the virus, and even postponed presidential primary voting out of an abundance of caution. This followed the Governor’s earlier decision to close all schools statewide.

That sort of localized decision-making is another important aspect of President Trump’s wide-ranging strategy for combating COVID-19. Instead of issuing edicts from Washington, he’s collaborating with those who are closest to the affected communities.

The President’s decision to embrace the ingenuity of the private sector and respect the knowledge of local leaders will ultimately make the difference in allowing us to get through the coronavirus crisis in relatively good shape as a nation. Unlike China and Italy — countries that largely botched their COVID-19 responses by relying on centralized government action and nationalized healthcare systems — the White House is putting its faith in our own entrepreneurs and local authorities who will help Ohio — and the entire country — overcome this challenge.

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Ken Blackwell served as the mayor of Cincinnati, Ohio, the Ohio State Treasurer, and Ohio Secretary of State. He currently serves on the board of directors for Club for Growth and National Taxpayers Union.
Image “CVS Drive-Thru Testing” by CVS Health.






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