Testing for coronavirus is an important aspect in protecting the citizenry of any nation. Doing so allows health officials to track where the virus is, and to quarantine individuals or communities in order to stop the virus’ spread.
Unfortunately for the United States, the Trump administration’s response to the virus has been anything but spectacular, and the country lags behind others when it comes to conducting effective testing.
U.S. coronavirus testing stalled for six weeks. A small German lab made 1.4 million tests in that time. https://t.co/shAVyC3MaW
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) March 17, 2020
According to a report from the New York Times, the U.S. has performed around 25,000 tests for COVID-19. Compared to Italy, where 134,000 tests have happened, or South Korea, where there have been 274,000 tests, the response in the U.S has been lackluster, to say the least.
Looking at things from a “rates” point of view casts the situation in an even more concerning light. The number of coronavirus tests per million citizens in the U.S. is at just around 100. Meanwhile, in the United Kingdom, it’s at 500. In Australia, it sits at close to 2,000, and in South Korea, it’s above 5,000 tests for every million citizens.
Even the Czech Republic is ahead of the U.S., performing tests for coronavirus at a rate that’s five times greater than what’s seen in America.
A potential shortage of cotton swabs and other basic supplies needed for coronavirus testing is emerging as a new threat to the Trump administration’s plans to roll out high-volume testing to 2,000 sites across the country by the end of the weekhttps://t.co/FejmWF6qzY
— POLITICO (@politico) March 17, 2020
Many in the United States who have come down with symptoms of the disease have complained about the inability to be tested for it — frequently, patients are being told that, unless they meet a list of qualifying features (international travel or been close to someone who has traveled, for instance) they cannot receive testing.
Last week, Trump promised that “anybody that needs a test gets a test” — a statement that, along with other misleading statements and rosier outlooks about the disease, has led to a majority of Americans having sentiments of distrust for the president when it comes to his statements about coronavirus.
Chris Walker is a freelance journalist based in Madison, Wisconsin, who focuses on news, politics, and analysis of world events. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, since 2005 Chris has reported on workers’ rights protests in Wisconsin, opined on four separate presidential elections and written on a number of other political subjects for a variety of national online publications.