President Donald Trump is scrambling for a return to normalcy in the face of the global pandemic that's killed thousands of Americans and unemployed millions more.
This can only be done safely by massively expanding the available testing kits for the virus in the United States.
Trump frequently boasts that the United States has tested more people than any other country in the world. As far as raw numbers go, that's the truth.
What he's reluctant to acknowledge is that the United States is severely behind in per-capita testing, hovering at around fortieth in the world. Adequate per-capita testing is crucial in order to get a workable sense of how prevalent the virus is in the United States and how effective the measures against it have been.
After early tests for the virus took days to achieve a result, the President boasted a new rapid test from Abbott Labs late last month, promising "lightning fast results in as little as five minutes."
Doctors soon received the rapid testing machines, but were left frustrated because some had been provided with too few of the cartridges needed to secure the samples.
The frustrations haven't ended there.
According to the Wall Street Journal, some doctors are finding these promises overblown, and are left concerned with inconclusive results presented by the new testing machines.
The Journal reported:
"[S]tate and hospital officials found in internal studies that the devices frequently produced inaccurate results, leading at least one hospital to return the devices, they said in interviews."
A spokesperson from Abbott assured that these results were anomalous, and that the company would work with hospitals to better coordinate implementation of the tests, identifying any outliers that could affect results.
The paper elaborated:
"Most [of the machines] require a long list of components that come from different producers, including swabs, throwaway polystyrene parts, chemical reagents, glass pipettes, pipette tips and more, resulting in a complex supply chain that easily breaks down when there is a shortage of any particular element."
The report comes just weeks after Trump's CDC rolled out hundreds of early tests for the virus that proved faulty and significantly delayed the ability to gain accurate diagnoses.
People weren't heartened or surprised by this latest development.
The errors with the Abbott Labs test were reflective of a deeper problem in achieving comprehensive national testing.
Ever one to pass the blame, Trump says that the testing crisis is a tool of the media to undermine him, and that individual states should be responsible for testing.
Life cannot safely return to normal without adequate testing—something Trump's administration won't acknowledge.
This is not normal.