The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) changed testing recommendations for COVID and then backtracked. Essentially this would have led to a reduction in overall testing, ergo also in positive rates. This is a political decision, not a public health one. In fact. we are short in both the frequency of testing and the capacity. This is why we are not getting the results in a timely manner. Did I mention this is the country that invented public health measures successfully employed by other nations around the world? That was during the 1918 pandemic.
We know the president wants fewer cases, positive and all. Doing fewer tests will not reduce the infection rate, or how many people will die. It will not lead to controlling and bringing this beast under one transmission rate. But politically, if you are a kleptocrat that knows the people hate your response, it is intelligent. It will mean that fewer cases (identified by laboratory testing) will allow you to tell the people that you are doing a great job. Perhaps it will change some votes before the November election.
Let’s be clear. Americans know the response is not good. This is distressing for many Americans, especially now that we see the infection spread to Trump's country. In the beginning, it was a blue state disease. It was a big city disease, and it was something red-rural America did not care about. They were sure that they could avoid it because part of the ideology in far-right land is that white genes are superior. So a lack of a plan could be construed as a form of passive genocide. Then there is Sturgis which is helping to spread the infection across the nation. So far cases have been directly linked in eight deep red, chiefly rural states. The caseload will increase, but if we don’t test for it, we will never find just how badly.
The level of denial is astounding until you scratch into the ideology that sent us down this route. This is white supremacy thinking which portrays the infection as infecting those who are weak. This is why African Americans and Brown people are more prone to the virus and die in larger numbers. This is a classic fascist ideology, which is also mixed with a rejection of science and expertise.
The president needs that fantasy. Granted, we do not have the testing capacity to make a lot of the testing useful from a public health perspective. This should lead to an increase in the capacity, not demanding we reduce testing overall. But more testing means we probably will find more cases and for the president, this is a no go zone. This is why the president would love if we had no testing, or very little. See, we have zero infection! We won! We can go back to normal! Open the schools, open the economy, full speed ahead! Never mind that people will continue to die, whether it is laboratory confirmed or not. It will also make it harder to open up because the rumor of disease will keep people away from businesses.
The president is desperate for normalcy and so are many of his followers in the right-wing bubble. The pandemic is also a textbook example of the underlying structural issues in our society and economy. We refuse to support people because it is always their fault if they lose their jobs. We also cannot admit why we need medical care for all, or how lacking that hurts us. Then there are the systemic reasons as to why COVID is ravaging comminuted of color, and this is not inferior generics. It is having to be front line workers, and working no matter what.
Then we come to the $600 a week federal support, now stopped. If you do the math it came to about $15 dollars an hour, which is barely enough for people to make it. The fact that some people were making more un unemployment should tell the far right that we need better pay. Also that the fifteen and a union movement have a real point.
This is what the testing regime is all about. The CDC has reversed the curse. Why? They were lambasted, rightfully so, by experts. However, now we hear that the president is desperate to go the route of herd immunity and damn the torpedoes. This could lead to millions of deaths. As is, excess deaths are really very high.