The COVID-19 pandemic has caused incredible turmoil and pain for millions of people around the world. This uncertainty has inspired many to call for government to step in and fight the spread of COVID-19 and ensure that hospitals and critical industries have the resources and supplies they need.
While government policies have a role in protecting public health, it is important to recognize how free enterprise has been proven as the best way to help those in need during this crisis. Private individuals and companies being able to innovate and operate—free from heavy-handed government dictates—has always been the most successful way for societies to work together and thrive during uncertain times.
Some uplifting examples from just the past few weeks show how private companies have stepped up, pivoted, or innovated to help those being hurt by COVID-19.
- Tech companies, pharmaceutical manufacturers, and hospitals are teaming up to create the COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition, a private-sector coalition of companies working together to increase data and resource sharing in order to develop solutions to the COVID-19 crisis.
- Ford, General Electric, and 3M are partnering together to convert their manufacturing facilities and produce protective medical equipment, face masks, and ventilators. According to reports on the partnership, “Ford will work with 3M to manufacture a newly designed respirator and boost production of 3M’s powered air-purifying respirator. Ford and GE Healthcare will begin manufacturing a ‘simplified version of GE Healthcare’s existing ventilator design’ to aid patients who may experience trouble breathing caused by COVID-19.”
- Abbott, Biomerica, and other medical manufacturers are developing tests that can detect if someone has COVID-19, with shorter wait times and a cost of as little as $10.
- Liquor manufacturers and breweries are converting their distilleries to manufacture hand sanitizer in light of massive shortages around the world.
- Major grocery chains are opening their stores earlier to offer safer shopping experiences for older shoppers and those with respiratory conditions.
- Cosmetics manufacturers L’Oréal and LVMH Moët Hennessy (Louis Vuitton’s parent company) are shifting their factories that usually manufacture perfumes and lotions to manufacturing hand sanitizer.
- Billionaire Elon Musk bought more than 1,000 ventilators from China and donated then to California hospitals that desperately needed them to treat COVID-19 patients.
- Fashion designers along with major clothing manufacturers like Gap, ZARA, and Hanes are converting their factories from producing clothes to making face masks for doctors and nurses.
- Medical manufacturers are doubling and tripling their production to respond to shortages of medical equipment like thermometers, respirators, and ventilators.
- Companies like Amazon, Instacart, Lowes, and Walmart have announced plans to hire hundreds of thousands of new workers to increase their ability to deliver products and groceries to people at home.
These are just a handful of the hundreds of examples of people and companies voluntarily working together, innovating, and doing what they can to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Acts like these require freedom for entrepreneurs and companies to adapt, produce, and trade. Government governs best during these uncertain times by empowering those who can help and allowing them to do their work.