President Donald Trump said that more testing in the United States makes the country “look bad” because the numbers of those infected with the novel coronavirus climb higher, NPR reported. However, many people, including Republicans and Democrats, would like to see more testing available as the country reopens amid the pandemic.
Right now, the U.S. has conducted more than 8 million tests, which is the highest in the world in total testing.
“If we did very little testing, [America] wouldn’t have the most cases,” Trump said last week.
“So, in a way, by doing all of this testing, we make ourselves look bad.”
For now, Trump’s focus appears to be on his re-election, and late last week, he claimed that many Democrats are using the COVID-19 pandemic and its resulting closures to prevent the spread of the virus to hurt him politically.
“I will tell you, you look at some cases, some people think they’re doing it for politics,” Trump told Fox News.
“Here we go again. But they think they’re doing it because it’ll hurt me, the longer it takes to — hurt me in the election, the longer it takes to open up.”
However, others, even those who are Republican, feel that there isn’t a safe plan in place for the country to go back to work or school safely. Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander, who is a Republican, is self quarantining after a member of his office tested positive for the coronavirus. As a result, he will chair a Senate hearing called “COVID-19: Safely Getting Back to Work and Back to School” via video conference. Members of Trump’s coronavirus task force — Drs. Robert Redfield, Stephen Hahn, and Anthony Fauci — are also quarantining themselves. They chose to do that after being exposed to people in the White House who tested positive in recent days despite weekly or even daily testing for those who have close contact with the president. They will testify via video during Monday’s hearing.
According to Senator Alexander, there is not nearly enough testing in the U.S. to allow for a safe return to work or school.
“There is no safe path forward to combat the novel coronavirus without adequate testing,” Alexander said in recent days.
Former President Barack Obama also criticized the president’s handling of the pandemic late last week. He called Trump’s response “chaotic” during a call to members of the Obama Alumni Association.
For now, it is unclear what the federal testing plan is, and it seems to be left up to each state to decide the level of testing to do as things begin to reopen. Right now, the official U.S. coronavirus death toll is roughly 80,000, with between 1,000 and 2,000 people dying each day of COVID-19, and it appears as if the curve has flattened. Still, cases continue to rise in some areas of the country while they are falling in New York and New Jersey.