More Testing, Less Testing – The President Has No Plan

Please note: The current Coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic is fast moving, and reactions to it seem to update not just day-by-day but minute-by-minute. Obviously, this site was not designed to bring you the very latest developments in a ‘breaking news’ story such as this. Instead, this site will continue to include news and opinions relating to major events, policy changes, and so on.

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Isn’t it  great that US president Donald Trump has solved the problem of increasing COVID-19 infections? His answer is to do less testing. That must be a comfort to the vulnerable such as people with disabilities, those with MS or one of a variety of other health issues, or aged over 60. The following article, written by me, first appeared in The Locus on June 27. 

Conflicting messages are coming out of the White House. Official White House photo by Shealah Craighead.

“Obviously kidding”.

That was the explanation the White House offered when pressed on a comment President Donald Trump made while addressing his rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma on 20 June.

BBC reported he told the ‘crowd’, a term I use loosely, that he had encouraged officials to slow down testing because it led to the discovery of more cases. He described testing as a “double-edged sword”.

“Here is the bad part: When you do testing to that extent, you are going to find more people, you will find more cases,” he said. “So I said ‘slow the testing down’. They test and they test.”

Obviously kidding?

That’s the sort of excuse an ill-prepared aide comes up with when his boss has opened his mouth and jumped in with both feet.  Faced with the choice of admitting the president’s ignorance or claiming he was joking, I’d say the official made the right call.

This anti-testing stance is just one more example of Trump’s unrivalled ability to undertake u-turns without missing a step – he had previously praised the record levels of testing, even using what some may call questionable or misleading statements. I don’t call them that. They are what they are: lies.

Let’s take a look at one claim in particular that falls short of the truth.

On May  12, Trump said the US had tested “more than all countries put together”.

This repeated claim is nonsense. According to the BBC, at that date, the U.S. had carried out 9,974,831 tests.

This is more tests than any country, but certainly does not add up to more than the rest of the world.

In fact, the BBC reports that combining figures from Germany, Russia and the UK is all that’s needed to overtake the US.

Brazenly stretching figures

Exaggeration in politics is, at the best of times, questionable – but brazenly stretching figures in the midst a public health crisis is utterly unacceptable.

Then, on May 14, during a speech at a medical supplies distribution centre, the president called testing “overrated”.

President Trump tours a facility that produces testing swabs. 5 June, 2020. Official White House photo by Joyce N. Boghosian.

“We have more cases than anybody in the world, but why? Because we do more testing,” Trump said.

“If we didn’t do any testing, we would have very few cases. They don’t want to write that. It’s common sense. We test much more.”

Well, that’s a clear forerunner of what was to come at the Tulsa rally: test fewer people, find fewer cases – the kind of common sense approach you want to see coming out of one of the largest countries on Earth.

Of course, if you do less testing, it will look as though the US has fewer cases. However, many people, some of whom may have voted in Trump’s favour, will get sick and die.

The real number of cases will remain just as high, but hidden from the medical experts who need such information to fight the disease.

The president has arbitrarily flipped from one false statement in support of testing to a second false statement against testing, all the while claiming that his administration has the situation under control.

Not to worry, though: he’s obviously kidding.

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Spelling

Please note that being born in the UK, all my posts, are written using British English spelling.

For example:

Centre                              not center (except in names, Centers of Disease Control)                  Colour                              not color                                                                                                                      Diarrhoea                       not diarrhea                                                                                                  Haematology                not hematology                                                                                Haematopoietic          not hematopoietic

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50shadesofsun.com is the personal website of Ian Franks. He enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor in the print media. He gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. More recently, he was a freelance medical writer and editor for various health information sites. Ian received a diagnosis of MS in 2002 and now lives in the south of Spain. He uses a wheelchair and advocates on mobility and accessibility issues.

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Note: Health-related information available on 50shadesofsun website is for your general knowledge only. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. Ian is not a doctor, so cannot and does not give you medical advice. You should seek prompt medical care for any specific health issues. Also, consult a doctor before starting a new diet or exercise programme. Any opinions expressed are purely his own unless otherwise stated.

4 thoughts on “More Testing, Less Testing – The President Has No Plan

  1. You hit the mark spot on. God save us all. Let’s pray our upcoming election in the U.S. will bring forth an empathetic, compassionate, and unselfish leader.

    Liked by 1 person

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