President Donald Trump’s response to the Coronavirus outbreak has proven marked by one major attribute: ignorance. During a conference call with governors on Monday, Trump reportedly completely dismissed the need to continue to ramp up U.S. Coronavirus testing capabilities. Despite continuous reports about the sometimes desperate search for testing kits, even in long hard-hit areas like Washington, Trump insisted that he had not “heard about testing in weeks,” suggesting that — thanks to his administration, of course — the situation was a-okay and nothing to be concerned about. The reality is the opposite.
Washington Governor Jay Inslee, a Democrat, was incredulous, calling Trump’s claimed ignorance “shocking.” He commented:
‘It would be shocking to me that if anyone who has had access to any newspaper, radio, social networks or any other communication would not be knowledgeable about the need for test kits. I can be assured that the White House knows very well about this desperate need for test kits.’
And yet, Trump pompously suggested that local authorities had nothing to be concerned about.
As he put it on the call:
‘I haven’t heard about testing in weeks. We’ve tested more now than any nation in the world. We’ve got these great tests and we’re coming out with a faster one this week. I haven’t heard about testing being a problem.’
Has he been listening? At all? Revealing his ignorance, he’s suggested that the high U.S. volume of tests overall indicates that the country is on the right track — but a relevant metric would be the number of tests conducted per capita. How many people out of every thousand have been tested? Out of every 10,000? According to that metric, The Times notes that the U.S. “still lags well behind other nations like South Korea,” where the first Coronavirus case was detected on the exact same day as the U.S. but swift and comprehensive government response has contained the outbreak to a far greater extent than the U.S.
Within the U.S., governors across the country are facing dire straits. On Monday, Montana Governor Steve Bullock insisted:
‘Literally we are one day away, if we don’t get test kits from the C.D.C., that we wouldn’t be able to do testing in Montana.’
Running out of appropriate testing capabilities in an entire state would, of course, be dire — and this danger remains, months into the crisis, thanks in no small part to the president’s ignorant waffling.
Other governors who’ve sounded alarms about testing shortages include Inslee, Virginia Democrat Ralph Northam, and, apparently, North Carolina Democrat Roy Cooper. Other locales have faced other issues — New York City, for instance, has suffered a tremendous strain on their hospital system because of the surge of patients. Multiple field hospitals have quickly been developed around the city to deal with capacity. The state has suffered 67,000 confirmed cases — a figure revealed by their rigorous testing regimen.
At present, the outbreak seems likely to last for at least weeks more. Governor Northam in Virginia recently handed down a stay-at-home order for his state that’s in-place until June 5. As some observers pointed out, Northam is a doctor, so knows what he’s dealing with.
Gov. Ralph Northam issued a stay-at-home order effective until June 10 banning gatherings of more than 10 people, among other provisions. [Northam executive order]. WORTH NOTING THAT NORTHAM IS AN MD. He is out until June 10. I’m guessing he is the most realistic of the Govs
— Howard Dean (@GovHowardDean) March 31, 2020