Testing, testing….

Dear President Trump,

Personally, I think you all should have been testing everyone in the White House for covid-19, including you, Pence, and your families, every day since the beginning of February. Why the hell weren’t you? From a national security standpoint such precautions would have been totally reasonable. Maybe your magical thinking-speak really is real for you, maybe you really did think that if you, the mighty Trump, didn’t believe in the virus’s ability to infect anyone in your inner circle, it just wouldn’t. Well, looks like that jig is up – I hope your valet and Pence’s aid only have mild cases and don’t suffer too much with the illness and I hope no one else was infected.

I would give just about anything for you (and Pence) to leave office early, to go curl up in some Trump monogramed sheets somewhere for a very nice long break that would allow the rest of us to get a grip and start the reset sooner rather than later. But it would be hypocritical of me to wish that you all would come down with the virus (it might, though, be just the thing for a hard knocks lesson in empathy – just saying….); that’s not karmic debt I’m willing to take on.

So the daily testing deal – as I said, it would have been a reasonable national security measure to have a daily testing protocol for any and all who work in your immediate surroundings from the beginning of this crisis. However, aside from having to confront reality head on, had you gone ahead and done this reasonable thing from the beginning, it would have signaled that testing really is a critical tool for protecting public health, along with physical distancing and stepped up hygiene. Had you been testing everyone in the WH everyday, it would have shined an even harsher light on your failure to put everything you’ve got behind an effective, massive testing campaign for the US at large. So nope, best not go there.

You can click on the 12 columns on the worldometer covid-19 table and get a sense of how each country is doing relative to the other countries in the world (plus territories and cruise ships). For case numbers and deaths, the US is (by far) at the top of the list and we are in position #13 for “Deaths/1M pop” at 233, but when you click on the “Tests/1M pop” you have to scroll down a long way – we are at #40 this morning. I don’t want any country to lag behind on testing – this is what we all need to do to keep as many of us safe as possible. So it’s not a contest, but given how badly it’s going for us with regard to case numbers and deaths (and economic and psychic fallout), it’s clear that not having been prepared to mobilize testing and contact tracing on a massive scale and then failing to invest in building this capacity when the viral winds were blowing hard enough to set off the science alarms was a dereliction of duty beyond measure.

I don’t know if there was something sinister behind this failure – it sure as hell feels like it – but whether it was part of some eugenics scheme or horrific misjudgment and bungling, I sure as hell hope that you all finally instituting daily testing will be the kick in the ass that your administration needs to take testing seriously.

Yes, I know I’m saying all this against the backdrop of you telling the press that we have the greatest, best-est testing system in the world! (shit) but that you aren’t so sure testing’s really all that great of a thing because, dang it, the more people you test, the more the case numbers go up and the worse we look. That is quite the dilemma, isn’t it? But dude, how can you justify wanting, needing to know whether those right around you have it and say that my mom or my neighbor or the woman who still has to clean wealthy people’s homes so she can feed her kids don’t deserve to know whether they have it or those right around them have it?

We all know that moral logic is not something that you have any capacity for so we’re going to have to hope that concerns over the optics of blatant have-lots (every dang day) and have-virtually-nones when it comes to testing will force your hand. And fast.

May we be safe from our POTUS.
May we be willing to connect the dots even though the resulting picture reflects badly.
May we be strong and hold out for the tools we need to start a healthy reset.
May we accept that we are under siege by the Trump administration.

Tracy Simpson

2 thoughts on “Testing, testing….

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