Infectious disease expert: We should be testing for coronavirus as much as possible
Michael Osterholm, director for the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, said it is “wrong” to hear that Trump administration officials don’t want to have coronavirus testing in the U.S.
“To hear the fact that, we don’t want to do testing, is wrong. Absolutely, we should be testing as much as possible,” Osterholm said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Osterholm did not specifically reference President Trump, but during his first campaign rally in months on Saturday in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the president told the crowd he encouraged administration officials to “slow the testing down.”
“Testing is a double-edged sword. We’ve tested now 25 million people. It’s probably 20 million people more than anybody else. Germany’s done a lot. South Korea’s done a lot,” Trump said.
“Here’s the bad part,” he continued. “When you do testing to that extent, you’re going to find more people. You’re going to find more cases. So I said to my people, ‘slow the testing down, please!’”
White House trade adviser Peter Navarro on CNN Sunday said Trump’s comments about testing were “tongue and cheek,” but the president has made similar remarks in the past.
Osterholm also said that a big difficulty in mitigating the spread of the coronavirus in the U.S. has been getting the message across that “this is a very serious issue.”
“We’re not driving this tiger, we’re riding it. And while other areas have done much better around the world in stopping it, after a very difficult period of time with it, we haven’t done that. And part of that is the fact that we just have not really I think gotten the message across to the public yet that this is a very serious issue. That we can’t shut down our economy but we just can’t suddenly say, we’re done with it,” he said.
“Other countries have been much more aware of the fact that the virus is going to do what it’s going to do. And so you have to basically stay locked down. You have to limit transmission areas that we’re not doing. And that’s why I think you’re seeing right now is the increases in a number of states because everybody’s back to a pre-pandemic mindset,” he added.
States across the country have lifted coronavirus restrictions to varying degrees, in some cases leading to spikes in the number of reported COVID-19 cases.
Nationwide, more than 2.2 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and 119,744 fatalities have been reported, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
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