Trump: Stop testing for COVID-19, and ‘we’d have very few cases, if any’
WASHINGTON, D.C. (WKBT) — As medical experts throughout the country express alarm about rapidly increasing cases of COVID-19 in at least 21 states, President Donald Trump shrugs off the spikes as merely the result of more testing.
“If we stop testing right now, we’d have very few cases, if any,” Trump said today during White House event for seniors to highlight his administration’s actions to help their age group.
Along those lines, Trump said in the Rose Garden Friday, “By the way, when you do more testing, you have more cases. We have more cases than anybody because we do more testing than anybody. It’s pretty simple.”
This morning, the president tweeted, “Our testing is so much bigger and more advanced than any other country (we have done a great job on this!) that it shows more cases. Without testing, or weak testing, we would be showing almost no cases. Testing is a double edged sword – Makes us look bad, but good to have!!!”
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that COVID-19 cases in the United States totaled 2.1 million as of today — a rise of 21,957 from Sunday, It logged 115,644 deaths — an increase of 373 from Sunday.
Governors and health officials in several states attribute the increases to businesses and other institutions reopening after being closed since early in March. In many bars and restaurants, thousands of patrons are ignoring guidance on physical distancing and spurning federal recommendations to wear masks.
“We have hot spots, as I said you might,” the president said of places with high or increasing infection rates.
“We’ll take care of the hot spots,” Trump said, without explaining how.
In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo voiced tough love during the weekend after he learned about 25,000 complaints about reopening violations across the state. Videos showed hundreds of revelers drinking in New York City night spots. Many were not wearing face masks and obviously were releasing pent-up energy from being isolated, observers said.
On Friday, large crowds assembled in the city’s East Village neighborhood. They congregated outside open bars and restaurants, with some wearing masks but most, not.
“Don’t make me come down there,” Cuomo wrote in a tweet in response to one of the videos.
Cuomo warned New Yorkers that, if people continue to ignore laws, bars and restaurants could lose their liquor licenses. He threatened to reverse reopening plans, especially in Manhattan and the Hamptons.
In La Crosse County, the COVID-19 Compass classifies the risk of spread as high. The County Health Department reported seven new cases today, in addition to 10 Sunday and a record 15 Thursday during a period of increasing cases.
The county has chronicled 132 total confirmed cases, with 62 recovered, not hospitalizations and no deaths.
The La Crosse County Health Department listed several businesses today where patrons may have been exposed to COVID-19: the Blue Moon in Onalaska, and The Library, Legends and the Twisted Moose, Pettibone Beach, The Crow, Brothers and Broncos, all in La Crosse.
The Blue Moon closed as a precaution after an employee tested positive.
Trump and his team, including Vice President Mike Pence as head of the White House Coronavirus Committee, dismissed allegations that the increasing numbers of cases and hospitalizations are the result of his pressure on states to reopen.
Although public health experts acknowledge that testing accounts for some of rising numbers, they also insist that much of the increases are result from states’ reopening and people’s abandoning physical distancing practices.
“The surge numbers are real,” said Dr. Irwin Redlener, director of the Columbia University National Center for Disaster Preparedness and a public health analyst for NBC News and MSNBC.
More testing will inevitably capture more positive tests, he said, adding, “But to deny the fact that we’re having an ongoing pandemic with continued spread is contrary to all evidence that we have and everything that we know about the behavior of the virus.”
This report includes information from other news sources and wire services.