THE MEDIA SAYS A LOT OF STUFF. The Media Said Trump Didn’t Have a COVID Testing Strategy. The Media Was Wrong.
The story of how the country went from nothing to more than half-a-million COVID tests on some days is a tale of inspired private–public cooperation. After bad initial stumbles when the Centers for Disease Control fouled up the initial test (at a time when it had a monopoly on testing) and when a Food and Drug Administration regulatory bottleneck stymied the development of testing in the private sector, the administration found its footing.
It used cooperative data, governmental authorities, relationships with the private sector, and improvisation-on-the-fly to work through supply shortages and other problems. Giroir’s team, a group of trouble-shooting aides around White House adviser Jared Kushner, the FDA, and the Department of Health and Human Services all played important roles. Meanwhile, private companies — often working hand-and-glove with the administration — quickly innovated and scaled up their production of everything from swabs to test kits.
At the beginning of March, there were fewer than 1,000 tests in the country on most days. By the end of March, there were more than 100,000 a day. The number climbed again before hovering somewhere around 150,000 a day for much of April.
Then it bumped up again, to more than 200,000 at the end of the month. It surpassed 400,000 for the first time on May 17. On May 29, it was nearly 500,000. It’s been in the range of 400,000 to 500,000 most days since, with a high of more than 580,000 just this just Friday.
More than 23 million tests have been run altogether, more than 3 million over just the last week. In April, 32 million tests were produced, and in May, 39 million, with the trajectory further upward. Giroir expects to be able to perform 50 million tests per month by September.
It’s obviously not an apples-to-apples comparison, but the hard-hit states like New York (151,000 per million), New Jersey (124,000 per million), and Massachusetts (111,000 per million) have higher rates of per capita testing than the major countries — including Spain (96,000), the United Kingdom (100,000), and Portugal (96,000) — with the highest levels of testing per capita.
The positivity rate of tests, a key indicator of whether enough people are being tested, has been dropping nationally since mid April and is now below 5 percent. The World Health Organization has set a rough benchmark of 5 percent. (If you’re above it, you aren’t testing enough.)
Stephen MacMillan, the CEO of the diagnostic manufacturer Hologic, says of the roughly 10 million tests that were conducted in May, “there had never in the history of diagnostics been a test to develop faster or used in this volume.”
WHEN YOU’VE LOST AN EDITOR OF ROLLING STONE. Matt Taibbi: The American Press Is Destroying Itself.
“It feels liberating to say after years of tiptoeing around the fact, but the American left has lost its mind. It’s become a cowardly mob of upper-class social media addicts, Twitter Robespierres who move from discipline to discipline torching reputations and jobs with breathtaking casualness. The leaders of this new movement are replacing traditional liberal beliefs about tolerance, free inquiry, and even racial harmony with ideas so toxic and unattractive that they eschew debate, moving straight to shaming, threats, and intimidation. They are counting on the guilt-ridden, self-flagellating nature of traditional American progressives, who will not stand up for themselves, and will walk to the Razor voluntarily.”
At Townhall, Matt Vespa writes, “But if you shame, deplatform, and purge those liberals who haven’t gone totally insane from your ranks, I could see how abolishing the police could seem like a possibility if you’re a lefty loon. The media appears to be a place where there can be no debate, where its writers work in fear, and the political correctness enforcers acting like ISIS’ religious police watch their every move. Yeah, I can see why that’s causing the liberal media to self-destruct. Submit or die is the special of the day for the American Left. And that is why I’m proud not to be a liberal or a Democrat. Taibbi’s post is lengthy but worth a full read.”
Related: I Don’t Believe The Media. The radical revolution that has destroyed confidence in journalism.
More: Old and busted? The 1619 Project. The New Hotness? The 1793 Project:
Given that so many cancellations hinge on the accusation that safety is being undermined, I would suggest a different metaphor than Mao. Mine is no less hyperbolic, but it puts the focus where my reporting—and Haidt and Lukianoff’s research—suggest it should be. In 1793, the Committee of Public Safety took charge of the French Revolution on a promise to “make terror the order of the day.” Evidence-free show trials and ideological purges followed, consistent with the radical leaders’ belief that public safety requires public terror.
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Ironically, the same subset of people ostensibly exercised about emotional safety—the woke left—seem frequently inclined to level unsubstantiated accusations that inflict emotional harm. This makes it difficult to believe that these Twitter warriors’ true aim is the promotion of psychological comfort. Did any of them consider Uhlig’s mental health after the man was baselessly accused? Does anyone care about Roman, who probably did not expect her enemies to ransack her Myspace page for evidence of racism and then pillory her for a photo taken when she was 23? What about Shor, thrown to the wolves for making a reasonable objection to what one wing of the protesters was doing?
As Robby Soave of Reason concludes, “That sounds like terror, not safety. Call it the 1793 Project.”