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Weakening Our Defenses

How the Trump Administration’s Deregulatory Push Has Exacerbated the Covid-19 Pandemic

The failure of the federal government to adequately safeguard the health, environment, and economy of the United States with efficient regulatory protections is not a new phenomenon. For over three years now, the Trump administration has systematically delayed, undermined, and erased key regulations that protect our health, our environment, our workplaces, our living conditions, and our economy. The steady erosion of regulatory safeguards has severely compromised our baseline defenses against Covid-19.

This report reviews the major categories of risk factors for Covid-19 and catalogues some of the most egregious regulatory decisions during the Trump administration that likely have already begun to exacerbate those risk factors. Even before the pandemic, those regulatory decisions collectively were already causing dire consequences for public health and safety, the environment, and economic conditions—but we now know that those regulatory decisions have likely also increased our collective susceptibility to Covid-19. In short, the rash of harmful deregulation that has broken out since the start of the Trump administration has been, in many ways, a likely harbinger of the U.S. outbreak of Covid-19.