President Trump’s recent claim that the coronavirus pandemic will “fade away” and his remarks at a rally in Tulsa, Okla to ‘slow down the virus testing’ has been directly challenged by health professionals.
According to Dr. Tom Inglesby, who’s the director of the Center for Health Security at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the spikes in confirmed cases were not simply a result of increased testing. Addressing increased hospitalizations, he said, “That’s a real rise.”
While on “Face the Nation” program on CBS, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, noted, “We’re seeing the positivity rates go up. That’s a clear indication there is now community spread underway, and this isn’t just a function of testing more.”
The director for the Center of Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota Dr. Michael Osterholm warned on Sunday that the nation will most likely experience one long stretch of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths as well.
“I don’t think this is going to slow down. I’m not sure the influenza analogy applies anymore,” he said on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” referring to a report he and colleagues wrote in April using influenza pandemics as a model for understanding the virus. “I think that wherever there’s wood to burn, this fire is going to burn it.”
“I don’t think we’re going to see one, two, and three waves — I think we’re just going to see one very very difficult forest fire of cases,” Dr. Osterholm said.
The White House director of trade and manufacturing policy Peter Navarro said Mr. Trump’s comment at the campaign rally about wanting to slow down virus testing had been “tongue in cheek.”
President Donald Trump said at the rally: “When you do testing to that extent, you will find more cases. So I said to my people, ‘Slow the testing down, please.’”
The House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, tweeted on Sunday: “The president’s efforts to slow down testing to hide the true extent of the virus means more Americans will lose their lives.”
The ideology that Mr. Trump promoted that carrying out fewer tests will result in low cases has been condemned by some prominent doctors, including Dr. Atul Gawande, a surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and a professor at Harvard Medical School.
“He acknowledges what we’ve seen, active obstruction of testing in a pandemic which claimed 120K lives so far,” Dr. Gawande Twitted on Sunday. “If I did this for 10 people at my hospital, it’d be a crime.”
According to the Tulsa Fire Department’s count of scanned tickets, the rally which had about 6,200 people in attendant in a 19,000 capacity arena, Trump also boasted about his coronavirus response and blamed China for the pandemic’s economic damage in the United States, saying the country “sent us the plague,” as he referred to the virus disparagingly as “kung flu,” repeating past remarks of a White House official, despite criticism that the phrase, as well as “Chinese virus,” which Trump has always used, was racist.
Mr. Trump has continued to use the statement even after public health experts have repeatedly explained that viruses have no ethnicity and said that associating a particular virus with an ethnic group encourages discrimination.