US Chaos: Now Trump and the Pharmaceutical Industry Like Testing



The president changes his mind and criticizes the governor of Georgia, who wants to reopen the state. New York cancels its Democratic primary and infuriates Sanders.

In the United States, some Republican governors are moving forward with plans to reopen their states’ economies, despite advice to the contrary from public health experts, who have argued for weeks that the country lacks the necessary testing capacity to track and limit the spread of the coronavirus.

Experts continue to state that without a thorough testing system, and without a vaccine or treatment to combat the virus, ending lockdown measures brings too many risks. According to surveys, most Americans seem to have more confidence in scientists than in governors, saying they do not want to reopen and are in favor of the lockdown and all travel bans.

For his part, President Donald Trump, after spending weeks talking about the limited benefit of testing, which he characterized as the whim of Democratic governors, changed his position and called a press briefing in the Rose Garden at the White House, just to present a new testing program.

More than a program, though, Trump seems to have good intentions, and, along with the CEOs of health care companies, The Donald reversed his position. After repeatedly claiming at every opportunity that there are tests in the U.S. and that they are “fully sufficient to begin opening up the country totally,” he announced the decision to double them “and beyond.”

So far in the U.S., about 1.6% of the population has been tested, while the number of infections is reaching 1 million.

No details were provided, even when journalists asked Vice President Mike Pence to explain where the millions of swab tests went, tests which were promised at the beginning of March but never arrived.

Here, too, Trump seems to be strategizing in such a way as to emerge blameless. He talks about swab testing and urges governors to reopen in order to start up the economy, but does not provide any of the specifics for these circumstances. In fact, after openly encouraging the indiscriminate reopening of everything, he publicly criticized the governor of Georgia for doing so.

In this situation, Trump prefers to have Attorney General William Barr assume the role of bad cop instead. Barr warned that while lockdown orders are “necessary,” the Justice Department could still intervene to counter them in cases where they appear to “go too far.”

A group of conservative legislators close to Barr later announced the formation of the Save Our Country Task Force, which aims to push states to reopen quickly.

The task force aligns perfectly with the plans of the White House to focus citizens’ attention on the negative impact that coronavirus measures have on the economy. In Pennsylvania, a Republican candidate for the State House and a group of local businesses asked the United States Supreme Court to lift orders implemented by Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf.

Even in Congress, Democrats and the GOP are divided: Leaders of the Democratic-controlled House have dropped the idea of returning to Washington next week, while the Republican-led Senate has reiterated plans to do so. The presidential election campaign continues in this atmosphere, and New York is the first state to have canceled the Democratic primary due to the pandemic, scheduled for June 23.

Bernie Sanders and his supporters did not like this decision. Jeff Weaver, senior adviser to the Sanders campaign, noted that “[j]ust last week Vice President Biden warned the American people that President Trump could use the current crisis as an excuse to postpone the November election. Well, he now has a precedent thanks to New York State.”

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