Symphony or Cacophony? Orchestrating Federal Mechanics toward Covid-19 Response in the United States and Germany
Governance is a critical upstream tool in public health emergency preparedness, for it provides structure to emergency response. Pandemics, singular public health emergencies, pose challenges to inherently fragmented federal governance systems. Understanding and utilizing the facilitators of response embedded within the system is critical. In its examination of how contemporary federal systems addressed fragmentation in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, this article uses two mitigation measures, community masking and vaccination administration to compare elements of federal system mechanics in the United States and Germany’s respective pursuits of public health goals. With particular focus on federal-state power-sharing, it analyzes the division and application of federal-state authority, therein examining mechanisms of executive expediency, as well as the cooperation of multilevel actors. Comparing the jurisdictions identifies inter-federal coordination, availability of exigency mechanisms, and federal guidance as facilitators of public health goal achievement.