Trump’s order to reduce testing for virus defeats efforts to curb its spread

To knowingly suppress the discovery of who may have the virus is beyond reproach. 

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Editorials

June 22, 2020 - 9:41 AM

Playing it safe. Ethan Gendron, 5, is ready for his train ride as he sits with his mother Leeanna Gendron at Turtle Back Zoo in West Orange, NJ last week. The zoo reopened after being closed for months during the coronavirus pandemic. Photo by PATTI SAPONE/NJ ADVANCE MEDIA

At Saturday night’s rally in Tulsa, President Donald Trump said he has requested health authorities to slow down testing for COVID-19 in order to keep the numbers low.

“When you do testing to that extent, you’re going to find more people, you’re going to find more cases. So I said to my people, ‘Slow the testing down, please!’”

The value of the testing, of course, is to determine who has the virus so it can be contained. This is especially important because many with the virus are asymptomatic and as such are unknowingly spreading it to those who may suffer more serious consequences. 

For those who surmise they can withstand the effects of the virus, this is not about you. It’s about those you may infect. 

To knowingly suppress the discovery of who may have the virus is beyond reproach. Unfortunately, that appears to be this administration’s goal.

In a discussion with state governors last week, Vice President Mike Pence urged them to reduce testing to quiet public concern about surging case tallies in some states.

Their theory is what you don’t know, won’t hurt you. 

But in the case of the coronavirus, the opposite is true and we need no better proof than  the 120,000 Americans who have died from the virus. 

THE PRESIDENT’S argument that increased testing yields a false picture of the true rate of infections is wrong. 

The United States has the most cases per capita of any country, recording 2.1 million to date. That’s one-fourth of the global total. Experts say that even with increased testing, the number of positive cases still will not reflect an accurate picture, the virus is so widespread. If anything, the U.S. is not testing enough to match the severity of the pandemic.

“We have a much bigger epidemic, so you have to test more proportionately,” said Jennifer Kates of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a public health foundation.

The president’s point that “if we stopped testing right now, we’d have very few cases” is absurd. 

Not knowing the truth, doesn’t make it go away. 

And creating an “alternate truth,” is a lie. 

In the last two weeks, cases have risen 15% nationwide. As of Saturday, eight states, including Missouri and Oklahoma, reported their highest single-day case counts since the pandemic began. 

Despite the president’s assessment that the virus is “fading away,” statistics say otherwise. 

BECAUSE most states have eased their restrictions to contain COVID-19, it’s more important than ever for each of us to do our part to contain its spread. 

Be smart. Be safe. For your sake as well as for others’.

— Susan Lynn

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