Everyone is eager to move away from sheltering in place, but public health experts tell us only a robust testing and tracing system will allow us to do so safely.
So on Tuesday, April 28, U.S. PIRG led a social media day of action to call for expanded COVID-19 testing. The day of action highlighted the need for a national plan to rapidly increase testing. While states and the private sector play important roles, only national leadership can increase testing capacity and coordination fast enough to meet the moment. Participants tweeted at President Trump and Adm. Brett Giroir, the testing chief, calling for expanded testing capacity and faster processing of the tests.
“Despite the urgent need to expand COVID-19 testing capacity, the Trump administration continues to leave the problem to states and localities to figure out on their own. That’s a recipe for disaster. So we had to send a clear message that the national leaders need to lead,” said Laura Deehan, Public Health Advocate for CALPIRG. “We are determined to continue to build the pressure needed to get this administration to act to expand testing.”
The U.S. is currently 9th worldwide in tests per capita, performing 18 tests per thousand people per day. That’s less than half the rate of Portugal, the world leader at 37 tests per thousand people per day. Until testing is available for anyone who might be sick, as well as for all front-line workers, we’ll have no way of knowing as a nation whether it’s safe to reopen schools, shops and social life.
Photo credit: Airman First Class Mandy Foster