The COVID-19 pandemic has forever transformed American society, and the ramifications will be felt for years.
In a federalist system, there is a critical role for the national government to play in a national emergency as a mobilizer of resources and a coordinator of responses. In the absence of leadership and planning at the presidential level, the void was filled by individual states, each with its particular culture and approach to governing.
Initially, this approach appeared to be working, but as the crisis continued and [former President Donald] Trump urged relaxation of restrictions, the individual state approaches began to diverge, with some states retaining many restrictions and others fewer. This created significant challenges because state borders are porous, and without a national strategy and message, the virus could easily move from state to state, independent of restrictions.