Coronavirus

There Is No Plan

SK Ashby
Written by SK Ashby

Trump continues to openly fantasize about reopening the economy next month, but the only way that's ever going to happen is if we make coronavirus tests available to virtually every American and tens of millions more every couple weeks.

The White House and the CDC have subtly acknowledged that's what will be required, but there's a problem.

Most major communities must be “at the end” of their outbreaks, said Pence, who leads the White House’s coronavirus task force. The country also should have widespread testing available, therapeutics for Americans who contract the disease, and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on how large and small businesses can operate safely. [...]

CDC Director Robert Redfield outlined similar criteria on Thursday during an interview with CNN. Officials, he said, need to understand the spread of the virus, strengthen public health infrastructure, prepare hospitals and other medical facilities, and foster a belief among Americans that it’s the right time to do this.

“Those are really the four most critical elements that we’re working and planning on now, with the anticipation of beginning to reopen our nation one region at a time and get us all back to work and get prepared for next year, which will be another challenging time,” he said.

The problem is that no one is working on "widespread testing" at the scale we're going to need. There is no evidence that the federal government or states are preparing to test tens of millions of Americans every single week, at least not in any plans that have been shared publicly.

Trump appears to believe that the kind of widespread testing and contact tracing we need will just magically appear next month but, as you know, the federal government actually just ended financial support for testing sites today and handed control over the states.

During his daily press briefing this afternoon, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo acknowledged the difficulty of reopening the economy by saying we'll need a "mindboggling" number of tests to approach anything even close to normal. We'll need many "millions" of tests, he said, and that's just for New York.

Vice President Mike Pence says he sees widespread testing and surveillance coming online "as soon as the summer," but that doesn't mean next month. The first day of summer is June 20th and color me skeptical that we'll be prepared to do this anytime before July or August.

I'm concerned there's going to be a very loud conservative chorus led by Trump for reopening the economy next month before we've done anything to actually make it safe or possible. Our patchwork of state governments, some of whom are governed by arch conservative idiots, combined with the Trump regime's incompetence and belligerence makes it really difficult to imagine that we'll be able to thread the needle of reopening the economy without disaster.