There are no two ways about it: Trump has put millions of lives at risk by denying scientific realities. Despite the fact that the world is in the middle of a pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus, as of Friday, March 6th, fewer than 2,000 people in the US had been tested for the virus, compared to much higher numbers in smaller countries with fewer positive cases. Now the US numbers on infected folks are skyrocketing because we are finally beginning to roll out testing in a meaningful way. But it's not nearly enough if we want to have any hope of containing this deadly virus.
Sign on to demand increased testing right now so we can actually find out how far the virus has reached into our communities.
Many people infected with the virus are asymptomatic, but still are carriers of the disease. The delay in testing means that folks with less severe symptoms could have been walking around infecting others for days, weeks or even months. Had we been properly testing from the get go, we could have quarantined those individuals and prevented the spread. The World Health Organization (WHO) even offered to create and send out the novel virus COVID-19 (coronavirus) to whichever countries wanted them back in January and Trump said no.
Instead of listening to health experts, Trump simply limited the movement of people from China -- yet the virus had already spread to other countries. Even worse, U.S. health authorities were not even adequately screening or testing those who had traveled to hot spots. One reporter came back from reporting on the coronavirus in Italy and our customs didn't ask her anything or screen her at all. In fact, some workers in California interacted with the first American evacuees from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the outbreak without any protective gear. They then were not monitored, tested or quarantined.
Our leaders have failed us and now is the time to demand they get it together and ramp up testing in a major way.
Some countries have implemented drive-through testing sites to limit how many people come into contact with each other. This has been hugely effective in places like South Korea where the death rate is lower than 1%. The US loves drive-throughs and we should organize this kind of testing as soon as possible. Seattle has just started, and we should all follow suit. But we also should be testing in places like schools because, while kids very rarely get super sick from coronavirus, they are likely to be carriers.
While the death rate is still being determined, it may be as high as 3.7%, compared to the less than 1% for influenza. In Italy, 10% of cases required hospitalization and that was enough to totally overwhelm their country's medical centers. The same will likely happen to the US if we don't get a real idea of how many people are infected and try to limit the spread now.
The coronavirus is sweeping through the US right now and while most people will survive it, our primary aim should be to minimize the number of fatalities. We must identify all cases as fast as possible, treat them, and not allow them to infect others.Essentially, right now we are in a moment of exponential growth for the infection. Each new case on average infects 2-3 more people and those 2-3 people in turn infect 2-3 more and so on and so on. That's why preventing as many cases as we can right now is so critical. Prevention begins with detection. Demand increased testing; drivethrough testing immediately!