It seems that President Trump is determined not to follow the UK government’s strategy of promising an unlikely number of tests. That’s for losers. Rather, he’s opted to promise an impossible number of tests!
On Tuesday, the embattled President sought to deflect attention from the continued failure of the US to get to the per-capita level of testing achieved by other countries.
In two worrying parallels with the UK, this seems in part to have been caused by Trump’s failure to comprehend the seriousness of the threat until it was already rampant in the US, and also the insistence of the US Centre for Disease Control insisting that all testing be centralised through its facilities.
As with the slow initial response in the UK and the initial resistance of the NHS to using external laboratories, this prevented the US from following Korea and Germany in slowing the spread of the disease and its eventual trajectory during those critical early weeks.
The US medical adviser Fanucci had one word to describe the US’s approach to testing: “failure”.
But this President does not do failure, and so yesterday declared that the US will shortly be able to carry out five million coronavirus tests per day.
Unfortunately for troubled Trump, Admiral Brett Giroir, the assistant secretary of health who is in charge of the government’s testing response, said during an interview with TIME magazine on Tuesday morning that “there is absolutely no way on Earth, on this planet or any other planet, that we can do 20 million tests a day, or even five million tests a day.”
As of Monday, the US has conducted 5.7 million COVID-19 tests in total, and the Admiral stated that the new US plan for COVID-19 for testing currently plans to double the current rate, hopefully hitting a rate of 8 million per month by the beginning of June.
“We’re going to be there very soon”
Yet last night during the White House briefing, a reporter referred to a Harvard study recommending 5 million tests a day as a near term target. Trump’s reply: “We’ll increase it, and it’ll increase it by much more than that in the very near future.”
Asked if he meant the U.S. would “surpass 5 million tests per day”, Trump said, “We’re going to be there very soon.”
The largest number of tests conducted by the U.S. in a single day was 314,182.
Trump didn’t say how a 1,500 per cent increase would be achieved, but assured those at the briefing: “If you look at the numbers, it could be that we’re getting very close.”