Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has struggled to articulate what he would have done differently than President Trump in regards to the coronavirus pandemic. But the little that he has shared about his supposed COVID-19 strategy shows that the United States would have been much worse off under a President Biden.

During his presidential town hall on Thursday, Biden said he would implement a “national standard” if elected in November. He went on to criticize Trump for taking a hands-off, federalist approach that allowed “the governors to do their own thing.” But it was this very approach that helped the U.S. fend off a crisis that could have been much worse, as it was in much of Europe.

To be sure, the coronavirus pandemic has had disastrous consequences. But Montana’s outbreak was not as bad as New York’s, and Arizona required far less federal attention than did Michigan. In other words, each state was dealing with different rates of hospitalizations, different outbreak severities, and different resources.

If Biden had forced each and every state to adhere to a “national standard,” states that did not need as much help fighting their outbreaks would have suffered under burdensome lockdowns for no reason at all. Biden did not define what his standard is, but it would more than likely be centered around the hot spots, such as New York and California. But why should Utah, which has successfully contained its outbreak, be forced to keep its economy shut down because New York is struggling to flatten its curve? Why should Tennesseans be kept from returning to their jobs because of California’s hospitalization rate?

Biden’s strategy makes no sense. The states needed, and still need, to be able to act independently because they alone know what their citizens need. For that reason, Trump’s hands-off approach wasn’t negligent; it was necessary. Biden’s national plan would inflict national pain.

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