Cross-sectional model of a coronavirus
In “How testing failures allowed coronavirus to sweep the U.S” Joanne Kenen of Politico describes how, according to experts, the Trump administration’s decision to reject a World Health Organization coronavirus test that was available in February has had deadly consequences. Here is an excerpt:
On Saturday Jan. 11 … Chinese scientists posted the genome of the mysterious new virus, and within a week virologists in Berlin had produced the first diagnostic test for the disease.
Soon after, researchers in other nations rolled out their own tests, too, sometimes with different genetic targets. By the end of February, the World Health Organization had shipped tests to nearly 60 countries.
The United States was not among them.
Why the United States declined to use the WHO test, even temporarily as a bridge until the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention could produce its own test, remains a perplexing question and the key to the Trump administration’s failure to provide enough tests to identify the coronavirus infections before they could be passed on, according to POLITICO interviews with dozens of viral-disease experts, former officials and some officials within the administration’s health agencies …
But neither the CDC nor the coronavirus task force chaired by Vice President Mike Pence would say who made the decision to forgo the WHO test and instead begin a protracted process of producing an American test, one that got delayed by manufacturing problems, possible lab contamination and logistical delays.
“Please provide an explanation for why the Covid-19 diagnostic test approved by the World Health Organization was not used,” Sen. Patty Murray, the ranking Democrat on the Senate health committee, who represents the hard-hit state of Washington, asked in a 3½-page letter on the testing fiasco to Pence, Health Secretary Alex Azar, CDC director Robert Redfield, and Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn.
So far, none has been provided.
Please read the entire article if interested. Let me just say that, in the end, incompetence, disregard of scientific experts, concern for public relations as opposed to the common good, and having a sociopathic president, among other things, have all made us less safe. And that includes those with great wealth and power.