‘Nonsensical’: White House Press Sec Dismisses ‘Myth’ That Widespread Testing Necessary to Reopen Economy
During the White House daily briefing, press secretary Kayleigh McEnany dismissed the “myth” that widespread testing would be necessary to ensure a safe reopening of the economy, calling it “nonsensical” to try to test everyone in the country. But her comments are not only contradicted by administration’s public health experts, but, at times, stand in contrast with President Donald Trump’s own words.
McEnany’s response came after a reporter pointed out that Trump did not have to wear a mask during an Arizona factory visit earlier in the week because everyone around him had tested negative. So why shouldn’t all Americans enjoy that level of safety before they go back to work, he asked.
“Lets dismiss a myth about tests right now. If we tested every single American in his 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,” McEnany claimed. “The notion that everyone needs to be tested is simply nonsensical. The people who need to be tested are vulnerable populations.”
But during a House committee meeting in March, the White House’s own infectious diseases expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, explained the need for widespread surveillance of the virus, which includes proactive testing and contact tracing, so that early-stage sufferers and asymptomatic patients can be identified before they spread to fragile or compromised communities. “We need to know how many people to the best of our ability are infected,” he told Congress.
In late April, Trump himself pushed for a massive surge in testing capability, calling for “maximum testing, because it’s something we’re very capable of doing.” Days later, he said during a press conference that the country would “very soon” be at a level where it could conduct five million tests a day, a figure nearly 15 times higher than the current daily testing rate. A day later, however, he backtracked on that claim, and instead blamed his own comments on a “media trap” before, again, endorsing, what would be a huge ramp-up in testing, saying: “Do I think we will? I think we will, but I never said it.”
McEnany did not mention Fauci’s epidemiological argument or Trump’s past endorsements of massive testing as she went on to tout the nation’s current testing levels.
“We have to be strategic with their testing, and we have done that so far,” she said. “If we want to talk about testing and the volume of testing, the fact that in South Korea, we always hear about South Korea and their tests: there are 11 tests per thousand. Here in the United States, that’s 17 tests per thousand.”
“We are in a very strong place in the country with testing,” she added. “Rest assured, we will deploy it strategically. That is what the American public expects of us.”
However, the press secretary’s explanation failed to note that South Korea began an aggressive testing regimen weeks earlier than the US and, as a result, it has almost completely stopped the spread the virus in contrast to the ongoing outbreak here. Moreover, South Korea has had just 255 fatalities from Covid-19 so far, versus more than 72,000 in the United States — and so that country’s testing rates have plummeted of late.
Following up, the same reporter continued the logic of McEnany’s dismissal of the need for widespread testing as a precursor to reopen the economy. “Should people except a risk that they could become ill if they go back to work?”
“Each and every state has — this is a governor led effort,” McEnany said, not directly answering the question. “The president has said that governors make the decisions as to move forward and we encourage them to follow our phased approach.”
But not a single state has satisfied the president’s own criteria of 14 days of continued decline in cases before reopening, the reporter pushed back.
“We encourage every single governor to follow the guidelines that we put forward with this phased reopening approach,” McEnany said. “We have this beautiful concept called federalism, which means the state lead on this. That’s what we’re doing. It’s a governor-led decision.”
Watch the video above, via Fox News.
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