"The Infuriating Story of How the Government Stalled Coronavirus Testing"

"How one young doctor at a Seattle lab tried to get out in front of the coronavirus crisis by inventing his own test. And why the absurdity of his struggle should make us all afraid."

"Alex Greninger was watching it all from the start. An epidemiologist and expert in laboratory medicine, Greninger spent the first few weeks of the year paying close attention to China, where a new SARS-like virus was burning through the city of Wuhan at an alarming rate. He watched as Chinese officials struggled to contain the virus, locking down the giant city of 11 million people, going door-to-door to test its citizens. He watched as the virus evaded their grasp. More than most people, Greninger could guess at what was coming for America. And more than most people, he was in a position to do something about it.

The key to getting an outbreak like the current one under control, say medical professionals, is implementing proper testing protocols. Testing for the virus allows doctors to pinpoint and isolate those who are carrying the virus and prevent them from spreading it. Aggressive testing allowed China, eventually, to get the outbreak in Wuhan under control and bring the number of new infections down dramatically. It’s been central to the strategy that Singapore and South Korea have used, too: test and isolate. And yet, two months since the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in the U.S., tests for the novel coronavirus are still exceedingly hard to find.

How did the U.S. fumble its response to the coronavirus so colossally, even with so much lead time? Why, with the number of diagnosed COVID cases in the U.S. climbing toward 4,000, do we still not have nearly enough tests?

A large part of the blame lies with President Trump, who has not wanted widespread testing, apparently out of an obsession with keeping the number of confirmed COVID cases low."

Julia Ioffe reports for GQ March 16, 2020.


"Trump Slowly Enlisting More Agencies in ‘Whole of Government’ Response to Virus" (New York Times)

"U.S. Lags in Coronavirus Testing After Slow Response to Outbreak" (New York Times)

"Poll: Americans Don't Trust What They're Hearing From Trump On Coronavirus" (NPR)

"Inside the Pro-Trump Facebook Group Where First Responders Call Coronavirus a Hoax" (ProPublica)

"‘It’s Going To Disappear’: Trump’s Changing Tone On Coronavirus" (Politico)

"Trump Now Claims He Always Knew the Coronavirus Would Be a Pandemic" (New York Times)

"Trump, Truth, and the Mishandling of the Coronavirus Crisis" (New Yorker)


Source: GQ, 03/18/2020