With all the delays in getting testing results, there is definitely not a clear picture as to what the actual infection rate is throughout the country, many governors are trying to find ways to reopen their states. The lack of information available to them as they try to make these life-or-death decisions is obviously putting them in a hard place to decide what’s best for their constituents. This is made even more challenging as some of those constituents are protesting that the shutdowns need to be lifted due to the financial burden it’s placing on them.
There are several reasons why there is such a lack in testing and it’s not for the lack of trying on the parts of the governors to get them. The production of reagents, the sensitive chemical ingredients that detect whether the coronavirus is present, has been hard to increase for two reasons. One is federal regulations that are intended to ensure safety. The second is manufacturers are reluctant to invest in new capacity for increasing production because there isn’t a guarantee that there will be enough demand to sustain it. Another factor is that some physical components of test kits come from overseas and given that we aren’t the only country trying to get them, there are global shortages. Also, healthcare workers don’t have the protective gear they need to administer the tests while labs don’t have the extra people and equipment required to process the ever-increasing numbers of tests. In addition, the Trump administration hasn’t gone down the path of a full-scale national mobilization to get supplies and personnel to where they’re needed most, which has created numerous shortages and bottlenecks.
As this back and forth within the states as to whether or not it’s safe to reopen is continuing to go on throughout the country, President Trump has indicated via Twitter that he feels his daily appearances at the White House Coronavirus Task Force’s press conferences were no longer worth his time. These comments came a few days after the President suggested disinfectant could help combat COVID-19 by being injected inside the human body and received a significant amount of backlash from health experts and executive at disinfectant manufacturing companies for saying this. Whether or not it’s related to the President’s feelings isn’t clear, but for the first time in weeks, there wasn’t a Task Force press conference today.