Individual missteps compounded upon each other when it mattered most put the United States well behind on Covid-19 testing. They included genuine fumbles, an overly restrictive testing policy and overly optimistic assurances.
But now that it seems, hopefully, that the US may be getting the rate of Covid-19 infections under control, the lack of available testing seems likely to delay when the US can get back open for business. President Trump preaches from the White House about the sheer number of tests conducted, but it’s the wrong metric in a country the size of the US, where more than 41,000 people have died so far.
The countries that are ever so slowly climbing their way past coronavirus share one key trait: widespread testing.
The US is testing about 150,000 people per day: Germany, with a smaller population, is testing 120,000 per day, according to The New York Times. Harvard researchers have argued that unless the US could be testing 500,000 per day by May 1, the economy won’t be able to open up.
Until the US has that and until it’s possible to figure out where the virus is and where it is going, who has had it and whether the larger herd of Americans might be gaining some immunity, reopening the the country still seems a long way off.
Or maybe not. Georgia will partially reopen: Gov. Brian Kemp is moving to open some businesses — gyms, hair salons, body art studios — as soon as this week, with restaurants and theaters set to follow April 27. Bars and nightclubs will stay closed. Cities cannot supersede Kemp’s order, which will be implemented statewide and follows similar announcements in South Carolina and Tennessee after President Donald Trump told governors to call their own shots.
Figure it out: Other governors are fuming at the Trump administration, which has essentially cut states loose to figure it out on their own.
Maryland, for instance, is getting its own tests from South Korea after the state’s first lady, who is originally from South Korea, hatched a side deal.