The virus that's killed over 70 thousand Americans and unemployed millions more has upended daily life in the United States.
President Donald Trump is calling for non-essential businesses to reopen and his supporters claim it's tyrannical to keep Americans inside their homes whenever possible—even if it's to potentially save lives.
What they don't mention is that much of this could've been prevented had there been a comprehensive testing apparatus to begin with. The Trump administration initially dismissed the virus and greatly downplayed the need for widespread testing, reportedly because they hoped the economy would remain stable if documented cases remained low. Soon after, a bungled rollout of early tests only made things worse. Trump blamed the Obama administration.
Because of these key early missteps and willful ignorance, the spread of the virus soon greatly outpaced the capacity for testing. Even now—though Trump reminds people that the U.S. has tested more than anyone in the world—the United States isn't anywhere close to testing an adequate number of people in relation to America's population, likely resulting in a massive undercount of both cases and subsequent deaths.
Health experts keep stressing that until an accurate number is formed and carriers of the virus are quarantined until cured, there is no safe return to normal.
Nevertheless, Trump's latest White House press secretary—Kayleigh McEnany—said the idea that everyone needed to be tested was "nonsensical."
McEnany was addressing the President's defense that he doesn't need to follow CDC guidelines of wearing a mask in public because he's frequently tested for the virus, and masks are to prevent someone from spreading, not catching, the virus. Those interacting with the President at his months recent public appearance were also tested.
One White House correspondent asked McEnany if a return to normal would be more feasible with expanded testing, citing how it lessens the need for precautions.
"Let's dismiss a myth about tests right now. If we tested every single American in this country at this moment, we have to retest them an hour later and an hour later after that, because at any moment, you could theoretically contract this virus, so the notion that everyone needs to be tested is just simply nonsensical."
In an ideal world, every employee at a business would be tested before it reopens so that only those who test negative return to work, while those who test positive are quarantined and treated, thereby greatly lessening the chance of infection. This is a goal that McEnany deems "nonsensical."
What's less nonsensical, according to McEnany, is not to require any testing before opening and letting the chips fall where they may.
She went on to say that testing should be strategic, only focusing on vulnerable communities like nursing home residents and meat processing workers.
People immediately saw the flaws in her logic.
Ironically, McEnany's claim came one month to the day after Donald Trump falsely assured the public that "anybody that wants a test can get a test."
Two months may seem like two years in the Trump era's news cycle, but people hadn't forgotten.
For a refresher on how deadly pandemics can be, check out The Great Influenza, available here.