It’s a Crisis! Let’s Scam the Government!

Image credit: Daily Texan

By Dick Hall-Sizemore

In a post yesterday, Jim Sherlock cited a report by NPR that the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) is in the process of finalizing contracts with private labs to expand COVID-19 testing. I hope that Jeff Stern, director of the agency, is not being pushed to conclude these contracts too hurriedly.

The last time that happened, with the state facing an oncoming Hurricane Florence, Virginia entered into a no-bid contract for $31 million to set up three emergency shelters. When the hurricane turned and largely missed the state, those shelters ended up being used by about 50 people. To be fair to Dr. Stern, his agency had warned the Governor and the General Assembly the previous year that the state had inadequate emergency sheltering provisions in the case of a major hurricane. On the other hand, a post-hurricane review contended that less expensive options had been available to meet the meets of an evacuation of Hampton Roads.

I also hope that Dr. Stern does not emulate his counterparts on the federal level. According to a report in today’s Washington Post, FEMA provided a no-bid $55 million contract to a company with a Leesburg address to deliver 10 million N95 masks. It issued this contract despite the Virginia company having filed for bankruptcy last year and having no experience in manufacturing or distributing medical equipment. The delivery date was May 1. The company requested an extension to May 11. On May 11, when the masks still had not been delivered, FEMA wisely canceled the contract.

The price per mask under the FEMA contract would have been $5.50. According to the Post, the manufacturer of the masks, 3M, charges as little as 63 cents per mask. On the other hand, the price under the FEMA contract with the Virginia company was cheap compared to a recent contract entered into by the federal Dept. of Health and Human Services for $100 million to purchase 10 million masks, the same number that FEMA wanted to purchase for $55 million. That comes to $10 per mask.

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9 responses to “It’s a Crisis! Let’s Scam the Government!

  1. Yep. The state should NOT be contracting to provide testing alone. It should be tied to data gathering and contact tracing, etc.

    Some folks want to get tests just to assuage their own concerns but that on to be on them, not the govt unless the govt is going to obtain valuable information in the process that can be used to track the virus and manage response.

  2. Endless. The opportunities for COVID boodle are simply endless…..What does the lady say in the obnoxious radio ads? “Come on and get you some!”

    But no, Larry, CVS or Labcorp can do the tests, and could easily be required to file reports with the state, but won’t be doing the contact tracing. Google will be thrilled to do that, and of course the Chinese probably already have that data on all TikTok or any Huawei chip user. 🙂

    • Well, the Chinese have 20million American’s personal data thanks to the failure of the Office of Personnel Management to protect security clearance data files from hacking, so really, they are well suited to the task.

      CVS and LabCorp would be subcontractors.

  3. The Coved-19 “crisis,” in the minds of the opposition elite, has morphed into a grand political opportunity to win power and control, including the White House by ballot or impeachment, or irrespective of the White House, using the administrative leviathan state, and at the same time to win the opportunity as usual to make oodles of taxpayer money dumped into their pockets.

    So expect far into the future, what has already happened again and again over the past 3 months – ever more scare tactics, and ever more goal posts moving backwards and outward, until the field of the disease is a wide and long and deep as all of America, and everyone in the nation, and everything Americans do, or try to do.

    A new fix, replacing Russian Collusion, is in.

  4. So, the feds were dumb when they let a contract with the Leesburg company to make N95 masks? A contract that was subsequently canceled for non-performance. Yet the liberal media screeched like horned owls about how Trump was not taking things seriously.

    Meanwhile, our state government was supposed to be stockpiling PPE but didn’t bother.

    Now, after two months of a failed testing program, caution is urged in contracting with private labs to perform additional tests? The COVID19 Data Project shows that Virginia has not conducted anywhere near the 10,000 tests per day described by Northam as necessary over the past 10 days.

    https://covidtracking.com/data/state/virginia#historical

    I’m all for fiscal responsibility. But of testing is critical for controlling the virus and controlling the virus is critical for reopening the state’s economy … are we spending dollars to save pennies by slow rolling the contracting of private lab testing?

    • it doesn’t matter who does the testing. It matters what happens if the result of the test is positive and most commercial labs basically stop after the test unless it is stipulated what happens next after the positive result.

      And that’s the part that is hard – not only for Virginia but most other states.

      A guy in Fredericksburg tests positive. He had played golf with a guy in Md and then visited her brother just over the Va line n NC. How you gonna track those folks down along with their contacts?

      Do you see how this is not just a Fredericksburg testing problem or even a Virginia testing problem.

      Who you gonna blame here? How are Va, Md and NC supposed to coordinate?

      See, you can blame this on Northam but isn’t that kinda dumb?

    • “Now, after two months of a failed testing program, caution is urged in contracting with private labs to perform additional tests?”

      What’s that definition of insanity, again? Something about doing the same things over and over….

  5. Last I saw 111 companies were selling antibody tests. Only 4, count ’em, 4, had bothered to submit the EUA application that requires a minimum of efficacy testing.

    Scam, yeah, scam is the proper word.

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