The U.S. recorded 77,255 new cases of coronavirus on Thursday, setting a depressing new world record. The U.S. has the worst outbreak on the planet right now, but it’s probably more accurate to say this new record was broken last week. Why? The largest private testing lab in the country is currently averaging more than seven days to get test results completed. That means many of those new cases reported on Thursday are people who got tested over a week ago and are just getting their diagnosis now.
As Gizmodo reported on Tuesday, Quest Diagnostics is struggling with the volume of coronavirus tests that it’s expected to complete each day. Quest is currently doing about 125,000 tests per day, and the average turnaround time for non-emergency patients is over seven days. That leaves a large window of time when people are walking around potentially spreading the virus and not even knowing they have covid-19.
Sadly, the extreme lag time for test results also means that each new daily record of coronavirus cases in the U.S. actually represents the new cases from over a week ago. Yet, the U.S. government has no national plan to address the issue. In fact, President Trump has repeatedly said the U.S. should be doing fewer tests so that it reports fewer cases. Trump’s logic only makes sense if you realize he’s a narcissistic sociopath who believes the number of covid-19 cases only matters as it relates to his chances for re-election this November and he doesn’t see each case as a person who’s ill and needs help.
When you drill down to the state level, things look even worse for America’s immediate future. Texas, Oregon, Utah, and Nebraska all broke new state records for cases of the virus on Thursday. And Florida, Texas, and South Carolina all broke new state records for coronavirus deaths. Florida reported 13,965 new cases, its second highest on record, and 156 new deaths, according to the New York Times state tracker. Texas reported 15,066 new cases and 146 new deaths. South Carolina saw 1,842 new cases and 69 new deaths on Thursday.
Several states are reporting more cases than entire countries, especially those wealthy countries that have gotten their case counts down to a manageable level. On Thursday, France reported 2,552 new cases, Germany reported 534 cases, and Australia reported 315 cases. New Zealand reported one new case in a returning traveler yesterday but hasn’t had community transmission of the virus in months, allowing it to fully open back up.
Americans are currently banned from traveling to a number of different countries over concerns about the uncontrolled spread of the disease. But the Trump regime isn’t so concerned about that because it says people shouldn’t even want to leave the U.S., the best country in the world. Seriously.
When a CNN host pointed out to Trump’s campaign press secretary on Thursday that Americans can’t even travel to Canada, he replied, “not sure why you’d want to go to Canada when we live in the greatest country.”
That’s not the response of a normal person, to say the least.
When will the U.S. finally get an effective testing apparatus up and running so that it can return to some kind of normal? The answer might be only when it elects competent leadership that actually cares about human lives.
Quest Diagnostics says it will have the capacity to perform 150,000 tests per day by the end of July, but that’s unlikely to help ease the enormous backlog. The U.S. has identified over 3.5 million infections and more than 138,000 deaths. But when you remember that testing numbers are coming in at a snail’s pace, you can probably add some hundreds of thousands to that case number.