The federal government recently ended its support for coronavirus testing sites and handed control of them over to individual states and local officials and -- while I still believe that ending financial support for testing is a big mistake -- handing control over to someone else appears to have been a very good idea in at least some cases.
In New Orleans, for example, it appears likely that the Trump regime's poor handling of testing directly led to a wider outbreak.
Emails obtained by Reuters show that the federal government's testing operation was a shitshow. Local officials had no way of knowing who had been tested and people who were tested often had now way of knowing the results of their tests.
Those tested often waited more than a week for results, and local officials had no information on who had been notified by a federally contracted call center, according to emails between local and federal officials reviewed by Reuters.
As deaths mounted, local officials requested details on the notifications as they increasingly fielded calls by those left in limbo - including health workers. But Washington officials largely brushed off their concerns, according to the correspondence, which has not been previously reported.
Frustrated city officials started their own operation to notify people after the state began receiving test results on March 26, nearly a week after testing started. One big problem: The lab initially sent many results with no phone numbers to reach those tested.
This does not increase my level of confidence in our ability to test virtually everyone and that's what will be required to restart the economy.
It's an awkward and frustrating position that we're in. We need the federal government to lead on this issue among others but, at the same time, we cannot rely on the Trump regime for virtually anything. Even if the federal government is able to ramp up nationwide testing in the coming weeks and months, the program will probably have numerous flaws and setbacks.
I have at least some reservation each time someone calls on the Trump regime to act. I understand that people make those calls with the best intentions, but when the Trump White House acts it almost never turns out well.
Parts of the economy may reopen over the summer and fall, but I don't know if we'll truly get a handle on the situation until Trump is gone. The culture of incompetence installed in the federal government by Trump makes everything more difficult than it otherwise would be.