The mainstream media spends very little time, if any, reporting on the successes of President Trump’s efforts to combat COVID-19 in the US. Plenty of criticism is directed at his efforts, but the real achievements are overlooked and underreported. It may seem as if the president is tooting his own horn, so to speak, when he talks about the monumental success of his White House Coronavirus Response Task Force, but here’s why he does it: if he doesn’t, no one else will.
Testing is the key to beating the virus
As Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) said in a recent Senate hearing, “All roads back to work and back to school run through testing.”
The president is very focused on the amount of testing done in the US and points out that the US has done more coronavirus testing than any other country.
We built the most advanced and robust testing anywhere in the world, and we’ve done more testing than any country anywhere in the world.
President Trump continues to emphasize COVID-19 testing capability and says that it is a core element of the plan to safely “reopen” America.
10,000,000 COVID-19 tests
In fact, as of this week, about 3% of the US population has been tested, or almost 10,000,000 tests have been administered since March in the US. For perspective consider South Korea, admittedly a smaller country with fewer people, but heralded as managing the virus outbreak well. South Korea has conducted, as of this week, 655,000 tests, which amounts to about 1% of their population.
The US is by far, the country hardest hit by COVID-19, with over a million reported cases, and now over 80,000 deaths. There is some speculation that the number of deaths includes deaths of patients with the virus whose deaths weren’t necessarily caused by the virus, but regardless, the numbers are higher than any other country.
Testing at 300,000 per day in the US
President Trump also pointed out that testing capacity per day had doubled from 150,000 to 300,000 per day.
Three weeks ago, we were conducting roughly 150,000 tests per day. Now we’re doing approximately 300,000 tests per day—a 100 percent increase—and it will go up substantially from that number. President Trump
The FDA has already granted emergency use approval to more than 90 different tests. These include diagnostic tests, antibody or serology tests, and now an antigen test. The point of care diagnostic tests can yield results in minutes, an improvement in waiting for results from tests that have to be sent to a lab.
According to the White House :
“New antibody tests, antigen tests, point-of-care nucleic acid testing, and genomic sequencing technologies are under development, which will enhance our coronavirus monitoring efforts.”
According to the Assistant Secretary for Health, Admiral Brett Giroir, the antigen tests are simpler than other tests:
This is different than the nucleic acid tests, which are very high complexity, requires the amplification of the genetic material. The antigen test really looks for the presence of the viral protein in the nose.
The antigen test will also increase the number of tests being done per day by hundreds of thousands, effectively doubling the number being done now, according to Giroir:
Do the math. That’s 9 million point-of-care tests that we will have every month in just a few weeks. It will clearly add to and, to a certain degree, transform our landscape.
Testing available for anyone that needs it
The best news of all is that testing is now widely available for those that need it. According to Giroir, testing is now available to anyone, whether they exhibit signs of the virus or believe they have been in contact with someone that has the virus.
Aid for the states
The recent CARES act bill, passed in response to the coronavirus crisis, includes $11 billion dollars for state COVID-19 testing. Especially high-risk populations, such as nursing homes and cities with high numbers of COVID-19 cases will be prioritized in the distribution of the funds.
Watch Sen. Alexander, Chairman of the Senate Health Committee talk about the importance of testing and the types of tests available in order to open up the country.