No, President Trump, Testing Is Not Causing Case Counts to Rise. The Virus Is Just Spreading Faster
The Trump administration has doubled down on its claims that coronavirus case counts are up because the U.S. has increased testing. However, a closer look at graphs of testing numbers and positive cases shows that this isn’t the case for many states.
 
President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have repeatedly attributed the increase in the coronavirus case count in the United States to an increase in testing.
 
“We’re doing so much testing, so much more than any other country,” Trump said in an interview with CBN News on Monday. “And to be honest with you, when you do more testing, you find more cases. And then they report our cases are through the roof.”
 
“I would just encourage you all, as we talk about these things, to make sure and continue to explain to your citizens the magnitude of increase in testing,” Pence said on a call with the nation’s governors last week, according to audio obtained by The New York Times. “And that in most of the cases where we are seeing some marginal rise in number, that’s more a result of the extraordinary work you’re doing.”
 
These assertions are not backed up by the data, a ProPublica analysis shows.
 
While it is true that there has been a dramatic increase in testing since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the increase in positive cases in recent weeks cannot be attributed to the rise in testing alone.
 
After weeks in which coronavirus cases and deaths were slowly declining, the tide has turned. On Wednesday, the United States surpassed its previous record high number of cases, reached in April when the virus was battering the Northeast, according to data gathered from states by The COVID Tracking Project. Hospitalizations are also increasing, though they are far from their peak nationally in April.
 
“The tip of the iceberg can’t be growing with the iceberg shrinking,” said Dr. Sten Vermund, dean of the Yale School of Public Health. “It violates laws of physics and oceanography.”
 
A White House spokesman did not return an email seeking comment.
 
Deaths have not increased, but they are considered a lagging indicator. It takes several days after exposure for someone with COVID-19 to show symptoms and an additional five to seven days, on average, for the illness to be severe enough to require hospitalization. After that, it can take a couple days to a week to progress to intensive care, and a patient can linger there for some time before recovering or dying.
 
“Just speaking as an epidemiologist, if I saw rising testing, rising case numbers and declining hospitalizations and deaths, I would say that Donald Trump and Vice President Pence are correct,” Vermund said. Conversely, if those measures are rising, “I would say that they are blowing smoke.”
 
ProPublica looked at changes in the seven-day average of COVID-19 tests performed and the change in the overall number of positive tests in each state from Memorial Day, May 25, to Tuesday. By Memorial Day, most states had reopened and news reports noted that groups were congregating again.
 
In some states, such as New York, Illinois and Indiana, testing has stayed about the same or increased while the share of positive tests has dropped. Continue Reading…
 
Courtesy: ProPublica.org
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    COMMENTS

    rajneesh

    5 days ago

    stupid fear-mongering by you. ProPublica is just a propaganda machine

    Ramesh Popat

    5 days ago

    what may be India's figures on aggressive testing?
    v hv not tested 1% yet!?

    An Illustrated History of Government Agencies Twisting the Truth to Align with White House Misinformation
    When President Donald Trump pushes outlandish misinformation, his federal agencies have turned it into official guidance and policy. Some have later had to reverse themselves.
     
    It has become a familiar pattern: President Donald Trump says something that doesn’t line up with the facts held by scientists and other experts at government agencies. Then, instead of pushing back, federal officials scramble to reconcile the fiction with their own public statements.
     
    It happened in March, when Trump pushed his opinion that antimalarial drugs could treat COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an unusual directive that lent credence to the president’s perspective: “Although optimal dosing and duration of hydroxychloroquine for treatment of COVID-19 are unknown, some U.S. clinicians have reported anecdotally” on specific dosages that the CDC then lists. The CDC’s language — which the agency later retracted — shocked experts, who said the drug needed to be treated with caution. The CDC told Reuters the agency had prepared the guidance at the behest of the White House.
     
    Perhaps the best known example of an agency twisting itself into a pretzel stems from “Sharpiegate.” After the National Weather Service’s Birmingham, Alabama, office contradicted Trump’s Sharpie fable that Hurricane Dorian threatened the state, the agency overseeing the office put out a statement backing the president over the scientists. Emails obtained by BuzzFeed and The Washington Post showed just how the episode roiled the agency. “You have no idea how hard I’m fighting to keep politics out of science,” one official wrote. Another email simply had one word: “HELP!!!”
     
    On the same day last week, two separate agencies cut through the White House influence with their own factual conclusions.
     
    The Food and Drug Administration announced last Monday that it was revoking emergency approval of the malaria drugs, saying that the dosing regimens promoted are “unlikely to produce an antiviral effect” and that their risks — which include potentially fatal cardiac side effects — outweigh the possible benefits.
     
    Also that day, an independent panel investigating Sharpiegate on behalf of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration found that top officials — including acting chief Neil Jacobs — violated the policy that forbids political interference with NOAA’s scientific findings. Meanwhile, Trump nominated Jacobs to permanently lead the agency in December.
     
    ProPublica catalogued other instances in which government entities have changed language or made other moves buttressing the White House’s unsupported assertions.
     
    “Our Stockpile”
     
    The morning after Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner asserted that the national stockpile is “our stockpile” and not for states, the government changed the wording on the stockpile’s website.
     
    Before Kushner’s comments, it said the “stockpile ensures that the right medicines and supplies get to those who need them most.”
     
    That became: The stockpile’s “role is to supplement state and local supplies,” and “many states have products stockpiled, as well.”  Continue Reading… 
     
     
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    The Trump Administration Paid Millions for COVID19 Test Tubes — and Got Unusable Mini Soda Bottles
    The plastic tubes supplied for coronavirus testing by Fillakit, a first-time federal contractor with a sketchy owner, don’t even fit the racks used to analyze samples. And they may be contaminated anyway.
     
    Since May, the Trump administration has paid a fledgling Texas company $7.3 million for test tubes needed in tracking the spread of the coronavirus nationwide. But, instead of the standard vials, Fillakit LLC has supplied plastic tubes made for bottling soda, which state health officials say are unusable.
     
    The state officials say that these “preforms,” which are designed to be expanded with heat and pressure into 2-liter soda bottles, don’t fit the racks used in laboratory analysis of test samples. Even if the bottles were the right size, experts say, the company’s process likely contaminated the tubes and could yield false test results. Fillakit employees, some not wearing masks, gathered the miniature soda bottles with snow shovels and dumped them into plastic bins before squirting saline into them, all in the open air, according to former employees and ProPublica’s observation of the company’s operations.
     
    “It wasn’t even clean, let alone sterile,” said Teresa Green, a retired science teacher who worked at Fillakit’s makeshift warehouse outside of Houston for two weeks before leaving out of frustration.
     
    The Federal Emergency Management Agency signed its first deal with Fillakit on May 7, just six days after the company was formed by an ex-telemarketer repeatedly accused of fraudulent practices over the past two decades. Fillakit has supplied a total of more than 3 million tubes, which FEMA then approved and sent to all 50 states. If the company fulfills its contractual obligation to provide 4 million tubes, it will receive a total of $10.16 million.
     
    Officials in New York, New Jersey, Texas and New Mexico confirmed they can’t use the Fillakit tubes. Three other states told ProPublica that they received Fillakit supplies and have not distributed them to testing sites. FEMA has asked health officials in several states to find an alternative use for the unfinished soda bottles.
     
    “We are still trying to identify an alternative use,” said Janelle Fleming, a spokeswoman for the New Jersey Department of Health.
     
    Fillakit owner Paul Wexler acknowledged that the tubes are normally used for soda b
     
    The Fillakit deal shows the perils of the Trump administration’s frantic hiring of first-time federal contractors with little scrutiny during the pandemic. The federal government has awarded more than $2 billion to first-time contractors for work related to the coronavirus, a ProPublica analysis of purchasing data shows. Many of those companies, like Fillakit, had no experience with medical supplies.
     
    The U.S. has lagged behind many European countries in its rate of testing people for the coronavirus, partly because of supply shortages or inadequacies. Epidemiologists say testing is vital to tracking the virus and slowing transmission. In at least one state, the shipment of unusable Fillakit tubes contributed to delays in rolling out widespread testing.
     
    “They’re the most unusable tubes I’ve ever seen,” said a top public health scientist in that state, who asked to remain anonymous to protect his job. “They’re going to sit in a warehouse and no one can use them. We won’t be able to do our full plan.”
     
    In a written response to questions, FEMA said it inspects testing products “to ensure packaging is intact to maintain sterility; that the packing slip matches the requested product ordered, and that the vials are not leaking.” It said that “product validation” that medical supplies are effective “is reinforced at the state laboratories.”
     
    The agency did not answer questions about the size and lack of sterilization of Fillakit’s tubes or about why it sought an alternative use for them.
     
    Fillakit is one of more than 300 new federal contractors providing supplies related to COVID-19. A ProPublica analysis last month found about 13% of total federal government spending on pandemic-related contracts went to first-time vendors. Continue Reading… 
     

     

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    COMMENTS

    tillan2k

    2 weeks ago

    Crows are black every where tRUMP must investigate if the real manufacturer are Chinese companies

    REPLY

    ljbonet

    In Reply to tillan2k 2 weeks ago

    tRump picked this company so the owners or investors r related to trump somehow. .. the interest is libing pockets getting kickbacks

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