Sen. Angus King: ‘2 to 3 Million’ Tests a Day Needed to Mitigate Economic Impact of COVID-19

Sen. Angus King: ‘2 to 3 Million’ Tests a Day Needed to Mitigate Economic Impact of COVID-19

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Janet Ybarra
Democrat
Former Washington Journalist
Contributor on The Bipartisan Press

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The Trump administration must expand testing for the novel coronavirus by as much as a factor of 10 in order to bring the nation back towards some sense of normal, according to Sen. Angus King (I-Me).

Donald Trump and his administration have been eager to reopen a US economy which has been largely shuttered for weeks as a result of the state stay-at-home orders and lockdown conditions in place to try to slow the spread of the virus, which has created a global pandemic.

The question is how to restart an economy which has shed tens of millions of jobs in a matter of weeks–and do it safely in lieu of a vaccine yet available.

In the United States there have been nearly 1.4 million reported cases of COVID-19, including 80,323 deaths, according to the most recent figures.

“Katy, the numbers today are awful and the economic impact is awful. The problem is it’s going to continue to be awful until we deal with this underlying health problem. The best way to deal with that, short of a vaccine or a cure, is absolutely a massive increase in testing, and for some reason the administration is resisting doing that,” King said in an on-air interview with MSNBC host Katy Tur. “They’ve increased testing somewhat, with great pride they said last week it was 300,000 a day. It ought to be in the range of 2 to 3 million a day. So we’re still off by a major factor and until that starts to happen, all of the economic things that we are talking about are just pasting it over.

“What really bothers me is we had sort of a contract with the administration, if you will. The American people held up their end of the deal. We shut down. We took time off. We self-isolated. We did all those things, but for two months we haven’t had a consistent plan, the only thing consistent about the plan is it’s inconsistent, and we haven’t had this expansion of testing which everybody says is critical in order to bring this thing under control,” King added. “So, yes, we’re talking about it more, but a lot of the activity should be taking place at the White House.

“I just read the CDC guidelines that were killed, somebody said they were too prescriptive. Whoever said that didn’t know what ‘prescriptive’ meant. Prescriptive means they were rules. They weren’t rules, they were recommendations, really well written, very thoughtful, and this administration is even denying people advice about what the best practices are.”

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