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Early US testing failures may have occurred because Trump wanted numbers low, despite the contagion

4 min read

“I’d like to keep the numbers low. ……That wasn’t our fault.”

Often Trump blurts out his actual intentions. Trump has always been motivated by re-election, and with the current travel ban, profit for his resorts. The WH failure to do the kind of aggressive VOVID-19 testing that other countries did once spread was revealed may have dire consequences in the coming weeks. Politico reports via NPR that Trump may have been more instrumental in that failure.

Today he claimed testing was going “smoothly” and that he has not been tested for COVID-19 despite multiple contacts with people who have developed symptoms.…
Part of the confusion here is that there are different figures floating around for the number of tests that have been done. As private labs take up the slack from public health facilities, there’s no centralized database of numbers.
“I think that we could have probably controlled this, if we had effective testing,” Angela Rasmussen, a Columbia University virologist, says.
We haven’t. According to an investigation led by the Atlantic, a little more than 7,000 Covid-19 tests were performed as of early March — putting the US far behind other developed countries. (The Atlantic’s investigation was in partnership with independent researchers, and US testing counts are now being updated daily by the Covid Tracking Project.)
South Korea, for example, has tested more than 140,000 people and has even set up drive-though testing stations for people to access. So far, the Trump administration’s promises to increase testing have fallen flat.

Accurate testing is critical to stopping an outbreak: When one person gets a confirmed diagnosis, they can be put in isolation where they won’t spread the disease further. Then their contacts can be identified and put into quarantine so they don’t spread the virus if they’ve become infected, too. That’s particularly important for a virus like this one, which seems able to spread before people show symptoms, or when their symptoms are mild.

Ever since the first case of Covid-19 was detected in the US on January 20, the government’s blunders in creating and distributing diagnostic testing have greatly handicapped our response to the growing pandemic.…

Trump’s 10-minute Oval Office address Wednesday night reflected not only his handling of the coronavirus crisis but, in some ways, much of his presidency. It was riddled with errors, nationalist and xenophobic in tone, limited in its empathy, and boastful of both his own decisions and the supremacy of the nation he leads.
Futures for the Dow Jones industrial average fell in real time with virtually each word Trump uttered, signaling a lack of confidence among investors that he had control of the crisis and previewing another bloodbath once the markets opened Thursday morning.



Trump — who believed that by giving the speech he would appear in command and that his remarks would reassure financial markets and the country — was in “an unusually foul mood” and sounded at times “apoplectic” on Thursday as he watched stocks tumble and digested widespread criticism of his speech, according to a former senior administration official briefed on his private conversations.


Public health experts have said testing citizens for the coronavirus is essential for identifying new cases and limiting its spread, but the nation has experienced a chronic shortage of test kits after weeks of missteps by the government. Trump devoted only two short sentences to the topic, and they were vague: “Testing and testing capabilities are expanding rapidly, day by day. We are moving very quickly.”…

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