Washington DC – At the White House task force’s daily briefing Thursday, March 25, 2020, President Trump suggested that “due to our superior testing capabilities”, America is surpassing all other countries in cases of COVID-19.The comment followed a letter to the nation’s governors in which Trump alluded to his administration’s plans to relax crucial social distancing guidelines by region against the advice of experts.
Trump’s statement that the nation has adequate testing capabilities for COVID-19 is of course ridiculous. Tests are available in insufficient quantity but they cannot be provided in sufficient quantity throughout the country.
Many health care workers in New York City are unable to get tested, Massachusetts and Tennessee report a severe lack of testing materials, and even as Trump brags about America’s testing capabilities as compared to South Korea’s, South Korea’s rate of COVID-19 testing remains more than six times America’s.
Public health experts and elected leaders are in disagreement with President Trump regarding his approach to COVID-19. Trump’s surgeon general, Dr. Jerome Adams said that “We really, really need everyone to stay at home.”
Top infectious disease expert and Trump COVID-19 task force member Dr. Anthony Fauci has repeatedly touted the need for social distancing. George Washington University public health expert Jeffrey Levi mentioned that “The worst thing for the economy would be to go back to work and see an upsurge in cases again.” Representative Liz Cheney said that “There will be no normally functioning economy if our hospitals are overwhelmed and thousands of Americans of all ages, including our doctors and nurses, lay dying because we have failed to do what’s necessary to stop the virus” Senator Lindsey Graham mentioned to the president, “you are right to want to jump-start the economy but don’t try to create an economic bump that leads to a spike in the virus, so any decision to open up the economy based on age or reason needs to be scientifically blessed by the experts” Maryland’s governor, Larry Hogan, said Trump was sending “pretty confusing” messages on COVID-19 and, with regard to Trump’s Easter deadline, “you can’t put a timeframe on saving people’s lives.” Ohio’s governor, Mike DeWine, issued a shelter in place order through April 6th, intensifying his state’s social distancing protocol. Texas’ governor, Greg Abbott, alluded to a potential statewide stay-at-home order. Massachusetts’ governor, Charlie Baker, criticized Trump for undermining efforts to contain the virus, calling it “frustrating.”