The Los Angeles Times reports on the testing kit shortfall that is hampering health professionals’ ability to respond to the coronavirus outbreak:
Federal officials said nearly 1 million tests were expected to be available by the end of this week. But in California, one of the country’s hardest-hit regions with 60 cases, the total testing capacity is limited to only 7,400 through the weekend, according to the California Department of Public Health.
The inability to test widely and swiftly for the novel coronavirus has impeded the country’s ability to beat back the spread of the virus, experts say. Without testing, public health officials don’t know where the virus is spreading and where to target efforts to contain it. Twelve Americans have been killed so far by the disease.
The shortage of test kits as well as lab staffing to screen for the virus are creating chaos for doctors and nurses as their triage efforts are complicated by testing restrictions and shortfalls.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump claimed today (quite falsely) that, as of yesterday, everyone who wanted to be tested is getting tested:
President Trump: "Anybody right now and yesterday, anybody that needs a test gets a test. They're there. They have the tests and the tests are beautiful." pic.twitter.com/r3Uh4HgbFC
— The Hill (@thehill) March 6, 2020
Anybody right now and yesterday, anybody that needs a test gets a test. They’re there. They have the tests and the tests are beautiful. If there’s a doctor that wants to test, if there’s somebody coming off a ship like the big monster ship that’s out there right now, which you know again, that’s a big decision. Do I wanna bring all of those people on? People would like me to do that. I don’t like the idea of doing it.
That is, again, quite simply, not true.
[S]enior director of infection prevention for the Johns Hopkins Health System Dr. Lisa Maragakis told Congress Friday that tests need to made available as quickly as is feasible.
“Testing capacity is not currently adequate and we need more,” Maragakis said. “We need this as soon as we can have it.”
By the way, why doesn’t Trump want to bring people from the “big monster ship” onto the mainland? I’ll tell you why: because he believes that would double the number of cases on the mainland, and he doesn’t want the statistics to double because he doesn’t consider the cases on the ship to be his fault. If someone were to think I am making an unfair statement about Trump’s motivations, that person would be wrong. Trump actually said this today:
"I like the numbers being where they are. I don't need to have the numbers double because of one ship" — Trump explains that he doesn't want to let people off the Grand Princess cruise ship because he doesn't want the number of coronavirus cases in the country to go up pic.twitter.com/ELhZDjiZW9
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) March 6, 2020
They would like to have the people come off. I’d rather have the people stay but I’d go with them. I told them to make the final decision.
I would rather because I like the numbers being where they are. I don’t need to have the numbers double because of one ship that wasn’t our fault.
The voters will decide if that seems like a good reason to advocate for sick passengers staying on a ship when health professionals want them off.
I like the reference to the Ukranian phone call. It reminds voters of another decision they must make: whether Trump puts the interests of the country first, or his own petty interests.