Magazine October 18, 2021, Issue

Infected by Bureaucracy: Our Fatally Flawed COVID Response

Members of a coronavirus critical care unit treat a patient inside the intensive care unit (ICU) at Sarasota Memorial Hospital in Sarasota, Fla., September 22, 2021. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)
Uncontrolled Spread: Why COVID-19 Crushed Us and How We Can Defeat the Next Pandemic, by Scott Gottlieb (Harper, 512 pp., $28.99)

Whether you get your COVID-19 analysis through Twitter or the network Sunday shows, you have almost certainly benefited over the past year and a half from the incisive commentary of Scott Gottlieb — physician, former FDA commissioner under President Trump, and veteran of two presidential administrations.

So ubiquitous and admired is Gottlieb that plenty of people have said we’d be a lot better off if we had just put him in charge of America’s pandemic re­sponse. His book, however, explains why the problem runs a lot deeper than any one good leader or better set of decisions could fix.

Gottlieb offers a …

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This article appears as “Infected by Bureaucracy” in the October 18, 2021, print edition of National Review.

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Patrick Brennan was a senior communications official at the Department of Health and Human Services during the Trump administration and is former opinion editor of National Review Online.

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