Donald Trump

"Anybody that Wants a Test Can Get a Test"—Except for Senators

No, the United States is still not able to test all those that it should.

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

On March 6, President Trump rejected claims that coronavirus testing was not sufficiently available. "Anybody that wants a test can get a test, that's what the bottom line is," he said. Later, he added: "Anybody that needs a test gets a test." The video clip is below (at 1:29:49).

President Trump's claim was untrue at the time, and it is still untrue. Indeed, the Capitol physician is not able to provide tests for every member of the Senate, let alone the number of tests that would be required for staff and others. (More here.) Instead, only those Senators and staff who are ill or symptomatic will be tested (and, due to the lack of availability of more rapid tests, it will take several days for results).

Perhaps this reality will encourage Republican Senators to be more openly critical of the President's dishonest claims about the federal government's response to Covid-19. At present, not enough tests are available. That's what the bottom line is.

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  1. Because, you know, it’s illegal for Senators to get their test from anybody but the Capitol physician. Just going to a regular clinic for it could get them removed from office.

    Everybody learns that in civics class, right.

    1. Going to a regular clinic would cost them money…

      1. God forbid!

  2. “Perhaps this will encourage more Republican senators to be more openly critical of the President.” Right. And perhaps I’ll win Powerball, and perhaps the 20-something filing clerk my office just hired would like to go out with me.

    1. And maybe Joe Biden will look into his Senate files, realize Tara Reade really did file a sexual assault complaint against him, then release the complaint to the media, who will publish it without any type of downplaying at all…

      1. Here’s yet another maybe :

        Perhaps all the Right-types who have spent years defending the thousands upon thousands upon thousands of Trump lies by going back to the same Obama “Everyone can keep their plan” will now throw up their hands and give-up (straw that broke the camel’s back-wise)

      2. Armchair, did you hear about the viral wave which swept the heartland, circa 1947? It went unnoticed at the time, but epidemiologists figured it out retrospectively, by tracing family linkages. The virus attacked a tiny snippet of DNA which governs neurological development. The result was notably diminished capacity for cogent response, except for the whatabouttery response, which was left mysteriously untouched. Sadly, the altered trait proved heritable.

        1. Cute…a personal attack….nice. Classy.

          1. Armchair, actually, it was an attack on your method of argument. And it was generous, it offered you an excuse for which you are blameless.

      3. But Hillary.
        But her emails.
        But Tara Reade.
        But nothing. Democrats aren’t in power, Trump is. He owns this crisis. All the what-aboutism in the world isn’t going to change that.

        1. He does own this crisis. Like FDR owned WWII.

          1. If FDR had run WW2 like Trump ran this response…

            Who can forget when FDR said he claimed no responsibility for how the war went?
            And we all remember when FDR said each state should do their own separate war effort and send troops and defend their borders just…however.

            1. “I tell you time and time again, I will not send your boys off to fight in a foreign war.” — FDR re-election promise, 1940 campaign.

              1. Maybe the dumbest attack on FDR ever.

              2. I recall events intervened after that pledge….

          2. True. Germany did not invade Poland until after FDR was president, so it was totally his fault.

            1. Exactly. And Trump released the virus in Wuhan, so it’s his fault too.

  3. Senators are not essential people. Why should they move to the front of the line?

    We could live quite nicely without one damned change to the laws for the next thousand years.

  4. I would like to add, and I cannot stress this enough, in the most sincere and heartfelt terms:

    BIG FUCKING DEAL!

    Anyone, and I mean ANYONE who believes there are some 330 million tests available right now, needs to pull his head out of his ass.

    1. You mean Trump was lying about the tests?

      1. No, I mean that it was not a smart thing for him to say, and people claiming it was a lie are not smart for the same reason.

        Just more “GOTCHA!”

        1. I disagree. I don’t think it’s necessary for a lie to be believable in order for it to be a lie.

          If I said that I’m the Chief Justice of the United States, probably no one here would believe me, but that wouldn’t make it any less a lie.

          1. “I disagree. I don’t think it’s necessary for a lie to be believable in order for it to be a lie.”

            It is necessary for the speaker to know it’s not true though. A misstatement is not a lie.

            1. Matthew, so you think Fauci hasn’t told Trump he’s short the tests? Or you think Fauci has told Trump, but Trump doesn’t know what Fauci said because a very stable genius can out-know an epidemiologist any day?

              WTF are you even trying to suggest? What will it take to make Trump’s diehard base give up their own self-deceptions to cover for Trump’s lies? When you lie for Trump, doesn’t that feel like a humiliation?

            2. Matthew, anyone with half a brain knew that statement wasn’t true.

            3. A misstatement is not a lie.

              First, are you claiming that Trump actually thought what he said was true?

              Second, do you think the President, in a time of national crisis, has some obligation to make sure trhat what he says is true?

              You are dangerously close to the Trump Can Do No Wrong ideology.

              1. This has to be the final stages of our nation’s terminal disease. The defense to Trump lying is that what he said was so stupidly, offensively untrue that it can’t be a lie? Holy hell.

                bernard11, I think we aren’t close to that ideology, DarkChocolate and Matt Slyfield have blown right through the gates into the ideological morass of Trump Can Do No Wrong.

                But out of morbid curiosity: If the statement is so stupid that no one could possibly believe it was true, why did Trump say it?

                1. If the statement is so stupid that no one could possibly believe it was true, why did Trump say it?

                  NOVA, there may actually be a plausible explanation for that. Neither Trump nor his base have any politics of their own. They try to keep up by taking their political views from each other. That at least keeps them safe socially. Whenever anything new comes up—and in low-information America a lot catches them by surprise—they are all at a loss together.

                  As a way out of perplexity, they organize all their political thinking around opposing others—owning the libs, etc. In response, Trump not only tells outrageous lies, but also actively tries out the stupidest policies he can think of. He figures the stupider the better—because stupider annoys liberals more than less-stupid annoys them.

                  That reliably makes Trump politically popular with his base. From time to time, you even see Trump assay a policy that is not completely stupid, and then—when feedback tells him too many liberals could accept it—he discards it, and goes for something stupider.

                  The base reciprocates. Even though they may not believe the lies, and might sometimes even prefer better policies, their sole actual political goal is to dismay liberals. Nobody they can turn to does that better than Trump.

                  I hope I have offered you a theory about Trump’s lying which you can accept as plausible. Of course I have not yet touched upon why Trump and the base keep cycling through objectively dysfunctional political behavior. To answer that would take us far afield.

        2. was not a smart thing for him to say

          So he lied? Is that what you are saying? So just come out a say it.

    2. There probably are — if you are willing to pay for them.
      Likewise, I’d be happy to FedEx you a ton of Lobsters, if you are willing to pay for them.

      1. The claim was “anyone who wants a test can get a test”, not “there is at least one test available that can be auctioned to the highest bidder”.

        1. If you went to Abbott Labs or any of the other people who make/read these tests with enough suitcases full of $100 bills and said “I want you to make extra tests just for me”, they’d do it. They’d either hire more people and run a third shift, or subcontract it out to someone else, or something — but the profit motive works and I’m sure they would do it if offered enough money.

          There might then be a national shortage of flu tests or something else, but you’d get your extra tests.

          It’s called the price-demand curve and even if we only charged $20 for a Wuhan Virus test (and accepted EBT even), a lot of the people demanding to be tested would instead say “never mind…”

          1. Ah, so “anyone with enough suitcases full of $100 bills can get a test”.

            But even in your proposed scenario, the supply curve doesn’t react instantaneously and Trump’s statement was in the present tense. Maybe Abbot labs would put on a third shift if we paid them more money, but that probably means more tests in a few days or a few weeks not right now.

            It’s not even that you’re wrong about the market reacting to incentives, just that nothing about this makes Trump right for having made a ridiculous claim that still isn’t close to true. Whether it’s right that everyone wants to get tested or not, Trump basically set the expectation that there was sufficient supply to meet demand at any cost which is obviously not how the supply curve works at all.

            1. You don’t understand, jb.

              There is ALWAYS an explanation or an excuse, no matter how stupid.

  5. Despite [perhaps deliberately] misleading news reports, it is not a matter of availability of testing supplies or laboratory capacity: it is health officials themselves who continue to beg folks not to demand unnecessary tests.

    For example, from Christina Ghaly, Los Angeles County Health Services Director: “There is no scientific evidence that would clinically indicate a need to test low-risk, asymptomatic individuals, outside of certain scenarios, such as people who reside in institutions, in congregate living settings, including people experiencing homelessness, those who can’t obey the safer-at-home orders because they are essential workforce or those who might be at risk of serious illness or complications of covid-19.”
    https://ktla.com/news/local-news/l-a-county-officials-to-clarify-information-on-coronavirus-testing-after-mayor-garcetti-announces-major-expansion/

    The partisan call for “testing, Testing, TESTING” is stupid, Stupid, STUPID.

    1. Uhh, Dunno about that lady but testing not being neccessary?

      Contact tracing, and the associated required testing capacity, as a perquisite to opening up seems pretty common sense. So is random spot-testing.

      Those are both the Federal Government’s guidelines.

      1. Mass testing is more asinine than even the lockdown itself.

        1: Who’s gonna pay? When you include all the bureaucracy involved, including the MD who has to order the test, you’ve got a price (not cost) in the $1000-$3000 range. Whose budget does this come out of?

        2: What medical purpose is to be served?

        At this point, it’s too late for isolation to do any good outside of nursing homes and such (where the majority of deaths are), likewise too late for contact tracing to do any good.

        It’s a waste of money.

        1. Yes, mass testing is both a waste of money and time and is simply not medically necessary. In fact, the number of negative test results is now so overwhelming that the governments of many sovereign states are simply ignoring the collected data. For example, Virginia (where, interestingly, the governor is basing his reopening decision in part on the ratio of negative to positive tests) mentions on its website that “all negative results may not be represented due to the large number of fax reports from new labs testing for COVID-19.” (see https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/ chart note 1.)

        2. 1. You don’t get to ask this question at this point in this administration. Trump doesn’t care, you don’t care that he doesn’t care. I don’t believe you care now.

          2. Do some research. Epidemiological-level tests are good to control an epidemic and catch outbreaks.

          3. Isolation is no longer useful? You continue to be amazingly dislocated from reality and experts. Once we re-open to any extent there will be a resurgence. These measures continue to be very relevant.

        3. Sometimes I wonder if you are a real Doctor.

          (actually I don’t – its obvious you are not)

        4. And where did you get that $1000-3000 figure?

          The same place you get all your other BS from?

          1. People were getting charged it.

            1. IOW, you have no fucking idea, and just made up some BS, as usual.

            2. Drink!!!

        5. including the MD who has to order the test,

          MDs don’t have to order the test.

          1. Really….

    2. Despite [perhaps deliberately] misleading news reports, it is not a matter of availability of testing supplies or laboratory capacity: it is health officials themselves who continue to beg folks not to demand unnecessary tests.</i.

      Because there aren't enough tests available. Just like the news accounts are accurately reporting.

      [Ghaly] stressed that testing capacity remains limited across the county and that officials must focus on testing those with symptoms and those who are vulnerable or at risk.

      1. In a free market, the number of tests available equals the number of people willing to pay for them. Unnecessary testing is being funded out of finite budgets — that’s the problem.

        And demand would collapse if the people demanding to be tested had to pay cash — their own cash — to be tested.

        1. That’s not actually how either the supply or demand curves work.

      2. Yes, “testing capacity” is absolutely limited! The term “testing capacity” includes the personnel capacity to record results and to gather samples, but seems to be unnaturally narrowed by some to mean “sample-gathering supplies” or “laboratory capability.”

        At present, there are so many negative results consuming time that it is distracting from meaningful testing. The call for testing, testing, testing is counterproductive to positive health outcomes.

        1. Yet ” testing, testing, testing” has become a partisan mantra.
          Testing that is needed is a large (10,000) randomly selected study to determine the actual number of cases as compared with “confirmed cases.” Two california studies by leading universities (using fewer than 1000 persons each) suggest that the ratio is between 40 and 80. If that is true the present lockdown and grave level of unemployment is a serious overreaction.

          1. Don, I don’t think you can repeat that enough, or loudly enough. It will take a hell of a bullhorn to distract people from the stink of the corpse trucks in New York.

            1. Aren’t the corpse trucks in NY largely a factor of people wanting to delay funerals until family members and loved ones can actually HAVE a funeral?

              Furthermore, the body count has no more relevance than the body counts we had in Vietnam, and for the same reasons. When hospitals are told that the Federal Government will reimburse them 100% (I assume of price, not cost) for every Wuhan Virus patient, there is a very strong incentive to, umm, well…….

              And under the current CDC standards, if a person is hit by a train and there is enough of the corpse left to do a Wuhan Virus test, if the test comes back positive, the person officially died from the Wuhan virus. Even if the severed head is found a hundred yards out in the woods, if you can conduct a test on it and get a positive result, it was Wuhan (and not decapitation) that killed the person….

              1. Furthermore, the body count has no more relevance than the body counts we had in Vietnam, and for the same reasons. When hospitals are told that the Federal Government will reimburse them 100% (I assume of price, not cost) for every Wuhan Virus patient, there is a very strong incentive to, umm, well…….

                Unskew those death numbers, Ed!

              2. Ed, you are utterly full of crap.

                Nobody is making up numbers. There have been thousands upon thousands of excess deaths. But you don’t think Covid-19 is responsible.

                Would you please stop making up stories, anecdotes, lies, etc.

                1. Coincidence and causation are not the same thing.
                  I read your post.
                  I fall down stairs and die.

                  Did I die from reading your post, or from a broken neck?!?

                  The flaws in the counting method are being raised by pathologists….

                  1. You’re taking marginal flaws and pretending they are changing the order of magnitude.

                    It’s pretty amazing.

                  2. You are an idiot.

                  3. Dr. Ed, actually, in epidemiology, coincidence of agency with coincidence of effect amounts to almost overwhelming evidence of proof of causation. No one credible will disprove the excess deaths in New York, nor even try to show any cause other than Covid-19. Credible people do not like to make themselves ridiculous. As always, cranks may differ.

                    1. Two words: Danvers (not Salem), 1692…

                    2. Dr. Ed, two points:

                      1. As you know, actual witch hunts are a pre-epidemiological phenomenon. It is baffling you would suppose any such reach could add to your argument anything which you would want to associate yourself with.

                      2. Nevertheless, the principal persecutors fairly quickly came to understand they had made themselves ridiculous, and recanted their charges. Alas, too late for the victims.

        2. At present, there are so many negative results consuming time that it is distracting from meaningful testing. The call for testing, testing, testing is counterproductive to positive health outcomes.

          I almost believed this, but I checked Wikipedia and it turns out that the committee revoked mydisplayname’s Nobel Prize in Medicine. So now I don’t.

    3. Despite [perhaps deliberately] misleading news reports, it is not a matter of availability of testing supplies or laboratory capacity: it is health officials themselves who continue to beg folks not to demand unnecessary tests.

      No, that’s a matter of availability of testing supplies and laboratory capacity.

  6. Adler apparently doesn’t mind getting voted off the island now, else he’d remember the unspoken “don’t acknowledge Dead Leader’s lies” rule.

    At this point is doesn’t matter. Stumpy is panicking about his failing re-election odds and approached the whole problem like a rationing/coercion exercise, like a good Republican would. Kiss his… ring, or suffer.

    The Republican party is simply a death cult now. I have options, but I feel bad for most of the country, who don’t.

    1. Adler and and a lot of the other VC commentators are never Trumpers. They left the island some time ago.

  7. Perhaps this reality will encourage Republican Senators to be more openly critical of the President’s dishonest claims about the federal government’s response to Covid-19.

    For a smart guy, Adler believes a lot of ridiculous things. Trump is not some sort of outlier in the Republican Party. He is the culmination of where the party, and the conservative movement, have been heading since Reagan.

    1. He’s not the “culmination”, he is an harbinger.

      1. It’s both.

    2. No.

      To understand Trump you need to understand Andrew Jackson — and you need to understand the Populist (not Conservative) movement that got Reagan elected. Trump is very much like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. — a powerful orator that a movement coalesces around. Law professors today are no more going to be able to fathom this than those of an earlier era* could understand why President John Quincy Adams was so hated, or how this distinguished statesman, diplomat, and lawyer could be replaced
      by someone like Andrew Jackson.

      Trump can joke about shooting someone in the middle of 5th Avenue — Jackson actually had done it, and more than once. See: https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/andrew-jackson-kills-charles-dickinson-in-duel And then as an Army General, he hung Arbuthnot and Ambrister — two British diplomats.

      The social elite never understand populism. Trump represents something beyond just the Republican Party — and that’s why the sabotage of our economy is such an inherently political act.

      *i.e. those who taught law — the senior members of the bar.

      1. Trump is very much like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. — a powerful orator that a movement coalesces around.

        Uh….no. POTUS Trump is not a particularly good orator. But he can speak extemporaneously, inlike his teleprompting predecessor.

        The social elite never understand populism. Trump represents something beyond just the Republican Party — and that’s why the sabotage of our economy is such an inherently political act.

        Yes.

        1. Commenter_XY : …. But he can speak extemporaneously, unlike his teleprompting predecessor….

          That’s the most hilarious comment I’ve seen in a long time. When Trump speaks “extemporaneously” the below is the result.

          “Look, having nuclear—my uncle was a great professor and scientist and engineer, Dr. John Trump at MIT; good genes, very good genes, OK, very smart, the Wharton School of Finance, very good, very smart—you know, if you’re a conservative Republican, if I were a liberal, if, like, OK, if I ran as a liberal Democrat, they would say I’m one of the smartest people anywhere in the world—it’s true!—but when you’re a conservative Republican they try—oh, do they do a number—that’s why I always start off: Went to Wharton, was a good student, went there, went there, did this, built a fortune—you know I have to give my like credentials all the time, because we’re a little disadvantaged—but you look at the nuclear deal, the thing that really bothers me—it would have been so easy, and it’s not as important as these lives are (nuclear is powerful; my uncle explained that to me many, many years ago, the power and that was 35 years ago; he would explain the power of what’s going to happen and he was right—who would have thought?), but when you look at what’s going on with the four prisoners—now it used to be three, now it’s four—but when it was three and even now, I would have said it’s all in the messenger; fellas, and it is fellas because, you know, they don’t, they haven’t figured that the women are smarter right now than the men, so, you know, it’s gonna take them about another 150 years—but the Persians are great negotiators, the Iranians are great negotiators, so, and they, they just killed, they just killed us.”

          1. He’s punctuating with pauses, facial expressions and tone of voice — none of which appears here.

        2. Commenter_XY, did you see Obama when he stood at a lectern, in front of about 50 hostile congressional Republicans, and invited them to attack Obamacare? He (extemporaneously) swatted down their objections, one after another, and never broke a sweat. After he was done, they couldn’t get out of the room fast enough. As they fled, Obama genially invited them back, to do it again soon. They couldn’t get out of the room fast enough.

          I was and remain a pretty severe Obama critic, and especially an Obamacare critic. But he was without question one of the better extemporaneous speakers ever to hold the presidency. That is some seriously distorted perception of Obama you are carrying around.

          1. I watched the man for eight years. He was good with a teleprompter; extemporaneous speaking….nope. I know I am right. You know I am right. Nobody is perfect.

            1. This is too subjective a game to be interesting to play.

            2. Here’s Reuters’ description of the seven-hour healthcare summit Stephen Lathrop mentions above (from an article dated February 25, 2010)

              “Obama dominated the debate during Thursday’s nearly seven hour cross-party summit on healthcare, always in command not only of the room but also of the most intricate policy details, as he personally rebutted every point he disagreed with. His tone was at times professorial, occasionally combative and at one point even dismissive of his 2008 rival for the presidency, Republican Senator John McCain. “Let me just make this point, John, because we’re not campaigning anymore,” he told McCain. “The election’s over.”

              “Well, I’m reminded of that every day,” McCain replied.”

              I guess you failed to see that when you “watched the man for eight years”, eh Commenter_XY? You know, it’s not too late. You can watch the whole seven hour summit online to test whether you’re right. Surely your memory will be confirmed or refuted by an entire day of Obama speaking “extemporaneously” – and wiping the floor with a whole roomful of Republicans while doing so.

              “Healthcare Summit” Give it a shot. It’s just a Google search away……

      2. Dr. Ed : — and that’s why the sabotage of our economy is such an inherently political act.

        Is there any kind of Stupid so pathetic as tin-foil-hat stupid? It’s like the person is trying to make himself look as absurd as possible. Here’s are questions for Dr. Ed : If the coronavirus measures harming the economy are “sabotage” and an “inherently political act” then why are they found in countries around the world? Why are they supported or demanded by doctors. Why are supported by allies of the president? Why do you say such silly things?

      3. Trump is very much like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. — a powerful orator that a movement coalesces around.

        This is obscene.

      4. Dr. Ed : “Trump is very much like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. — a powerful orator that a movement coalesces around”

        I share bernard11’s nausea over this statement, but want to add a question for Dr.Ed : What exactly does your “movement” consist of? That was easy to answer with MLK, but proves a bit more puzzling with DJT.

        The president who promised to “drain the swamp” presides over an administration much more corrupt than average. Sure there’s the “war against the Deep State”, but what is that exactly?

        Mostly it’s Trump’s lies or childish theatrics – often put-down as a fresh layer over earlier lies & theatrics. Where are movement principles in all the cartoon buffoonery? For instance, you could call the fight against impeachment part of the “war against the Deep State”, but Trump had to get caught trading U.S. foreign policy favor for personal gain to even create the battlefield.

        My theory? It’s a “movement” of people who want Reality-TV pro-wrestling-style entertainment from their president: Something to savor & enjoy watching TV after a long hard day (just before the sitcoms kick-in). After all, once you discount all the outlandish promises (which we’re repeatedly told we must do with Trump), that’s pretty much exactly what Trump pledged.

        This explains the absence of principles in Ed’s “movement”. They’d be totally irrelevant to the entertainment product package delivered…..

      5. Trump is very much like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. — a powerful orator that a movement coalesces around.

        Maybe if you had said ‘like Hitler,’ it would’ve been slightly less laughable. Though Hitler wasn’t as much of a sociopath. And was actually a good orator.

    3. Agreed, bernard11. I have been thinking of the current emergency as the Reagan/Trump pandemic.

      1. Didn’t Reagan die in 2004?

        1. Yeah, Ed. And the groundwork for failed pandemic response goes back much father than that. Regan started laying it down on his first day in office, when he said, “Government IS the problem.”

          1. And the groundwork for failed pandemic response goes back much father than that.

            No kidding. Remember that apple?

  8. I am sure that every doctor included in the “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. Period.” statement has a closet full of test kits ready to go.

    1. Wow. That’s lame.

      Be careful. You are getting close to Dr. Ed territory.

  9. It’s not the President’s or the federal government’s job to provide health care for the people and be their doctor.

    1. Trump says his authority is total. TOTAL. Pretty sure that includes health care.

      1. The Left can’t shut up about how he is dictator so it would make sense if he controls ALL it would include healthcare. (We all know this isn’t remotely true though….but when has truth ever held back the political rhetoric from the left…)

        1. For someone so perceived as being a dictator, what’s truly amazing is how few emergency powers Trump has assumed. Thomas Jefferson — yes, Jefferson — had the editor of the Hartford Currant thrown in jail, Andrew Jackson said “John Marshal has made his decision, now let’s see him enforce it”, and then there was Lincoln and folk like Merriman and Milligan. And wasn’t Obama spying on reporters, something involving telephones?

          Compared to what 44 other men actually DID, Trump has shown remarkable restraint for a “dictator:….

          1. There’s a simple explanation for that, Ed. Being the narcissist he is, Trump’s only concern with the pandemic is taking credit and dispensing blame. The former he sees in terms of PR, not epidemiological response. In fact, he probably thinks aggressive action is less effective than image management, which has been Trump’s only consistent talent his whole life.

            Besides, a comprehensive and thorough pandemic strategy at the federal-level with tactical follow-thru would require diligence, discipline and focus. When has our baby-man president ever shown those qualities?

            1. Name one POTUS in the past 50 years who would be considered psychologically “healthy.”

              Maybe Ford, but then he never won a national election and sought only to become Speaker of the House.

              “Normal” people don’t run for President….

              1. Golly, Ed, that’s a hard’un….. Maybe Trump’s predecessor?

                I’m now gonna make a bag of popcorn, sit back & wait to watch you make a fool of yourself describing all of Obama’s psychologically deformities. It’ll be the ultimate caricature of whataboutism

    2. Epidemics are pretty clearly something the federal government does, both here and throughout the world and history.

      1. Sounds like quite the conspiracy theory. Tell me more.

        1. LOL, but you realize what I mean.

  10. Why is everyone fixated on testing? In this case it is almost worthless.

    A test only captures your infection status at the date and time it is taken. If you have your test, then hop on a bus to go across town and get infected, the test is essentially worthless.

    Also, testing is pretty useless when it takes days to get back the result. That is unless every single person who is tested is required to self-quarantine until the get their results. Especially because asymptomatic carriers are the main spreaders.

    And, even if you get tested and come back positive, there is almost nothing that can be done treatment wise to help you. Other then some experimental treatments the “standard of care” is rest and monitoring. Little changes to this standard from a “presumptive positive” to an actual “positive”.

    If you want the “bread and circuses” of testing then by all means keep pushing it as a public policy. But it has almost no public benefit other then that.

    1. Why is everyone fixated on testing? In this case it is almost worthless.

      It’s not worthless at all. It helps keep the Big Scary Numbers elevated, which then provides a fig leaf for maintaining the status quo.

      Relatedly, it’s… well, curious that false-positive rates for the PCR tests haven’t been raised in a single discussion I’ve seen advocating for mass testing of apparently healthy people. As the critics of the antibody studies are quick to point out, a very small false-positive rate can dramatically overstate prevalence when testing a large and largely negative population.

  11. Anybody who wants a test can get a test.*

    *Please allow 3-6 months** for test delivery.

    **Still shorter than wait times for hip and knee replacements in universal health care systems like Canada. Under normal, non-COVID conditions.

  12. Trump wasn’t lying. He was referring to car battery tests from AAA. If the lamestream media were competent, they would have asked about that. Not Trump’s fault that everybody misinterpreted him.

    1. Comedy is hard to do. This is an example.

      1. No, Bob. Comedy is hard to get. Which explains why professional comics skew left, and why right wingers get scowl lines.

  13. “A test only captures your infection status at the date and time it is taken. If you have your test, then hop on a bus to go across town and get infected, the test is essentially worthless.”

    Obviously the President of Brown University does not understand this. For her THE test is the one that lets the student back on campus.

    1. Probably understands it to the extent that the unlearned masses of snowflakes will think it provides a nice little safety blanket. “No one at Brown can get Covid because we all tested negative!!!!” Yeah…

  14. Why does congress continue to allow Trump and his henchmen to run pandemic policy from behind a private cordon sanitaire? Why does everyone who will ever be in Trump’s vicinity get tested, with near-immediate results? How king-like is that privilege? What justifies it?

    And how does Trump’s bizarre testing privilege distort pandemic policy? I don’t want pandemic policy run by a president with no need for a sense of personal urgency. It supports him in a position to weaponize politically the nation’s pandemic policy, which seems to be what is happening.

  15. I am still confused about various causalities here:
    1. How is the President involved in the manufacture of tests?
    2. In as much as parts of the executive limit approval of tests has he issued orders telling them to be more stringent than normal?
    3. In as much as he has ordered streamlining, have the GS-level employees complied, or as is often with GS levels, have they just done as they always do?

    My understanding is:
    1. He isn’t.
    2. He hasn’t.
    3. They just do as they always do.

    1. 1. The President can be involved. Instead his son in law is, and is not doing great.

      2. This is an odd question. Has he made testing slower? No. But he’s done nothing to make it go faster or in a more coordinated fashion. Saying he has total authority and takes no responsibility is not a good look.

      3. Deep state BS you pulled out of your hat.

  16. Ahh, the latest Volokh Covid thread.

    Love to see the people crying about…Canadian elective procedure wait times?
    Attacking whether testing is useful. Also arguing the testing numbers are being skewed because liberals.
    Attacking Obama as a worse liar than Trump.
    And saying the federal government has no responsibility to procure or coordinate testing.

    Man, this is a special place.

    1. I don’t think the fact that Dem govs want to keep their economies shut down over the summer to help tank the national economy and get Trump out of office is necessarily far flung conspiracy. These ARE the same people that say they must get rid of Trump BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY. Would seem to me tanking the economy might be one of those means. We just happen to have this nice pandemic to run cover for them.

      1. And said they wanted a recession….

        1. The idea that Dem governors are hamstringing their states to hurt Trump is amazing and paranoid.

          1. Yeah, and…??? You seem surprised that the most common responses–by the pro-Trump TDS crowd–is some sort of delusional and paranoid conspiracy. It’s like today is your first day reading the VC. 🙂

    2. Sarcastr0….I’d much rather see the posts on some of the legal aspects of what is happening (they get too political, and I am guilty of it from time to time). I find the legal questions pretty interesting.

      Just wish someone would look into the Exec orders by the governor of the People’s Republic of NJ, line them up with the People’s Constitution and the Federal Constitution, and see how drastic the over-reach truly was. And since Stuart Rabner, Chief Justice of the Revolutionary Court closed all of them, there is no way to litigate.

      And frankly, I’m angry now. I want to sue a nursing home for negligence (there were 30+ Covid-19 cases in a week) regarding the death of a family member. She died of Covid-19. It is not a nice way to go. You are literally gasping for breath while barely conscious. You literally look like a fish out of water. It is awful.

      I am pretty sure I am not alone. A lot of people here is the People’s Republic lost parents and loved ones in nursing homes. Since the courts are closed, we can’t do jack-shit, legally. I bet they’re pissed too.

      1. Hey Commenter!

        The thing is, I find emergency-based law like this to be pretty boring because a lot of it is ad hoc and based on practicality/necessity, with after the fact ratinalization that kinda makes for bad law. The scrambling for doctrine at the moment is just about the only time you’ll see me be a legal realist.

        Covid is terrifying. Your description is vivid. We’ll see how the inevitable lawsuits proceed, and what they uncover. Negligence or recklessness maybe. Lack or presence of authority will follow those first 2 determinations, I’d estimate.

      2. XY,

        My sympathies.

        Do you think better regulation of nursing homes would have helped?

        1. XY,
          My sympathies as well. A terrible way to lose a loved one. I have one suggestion: For more-serious points like the one you were making; maybe avoid dumb comments like “The People’s Republic…”? I find those juvenile descriptions from the left and the right as dopey and as an indication to ignore the rest of the post. I think that, out of respect for the dead loved on, maybe use just normal accurate descriptions for this narrow and limited type of your posts. And then, go back to using “clever” insulting descriptions for the more-typical posts you write?

          If I post something, and expect/hope for empathy or sympathy from the online teeming masses regarding the death of my father, I’m not gonna stick “Fascist Trump” or “Fascist Hillary” into any part of that particular post.

          Just friendly advice.

          1. I’ll think about it = For more-serious points like the one you were making; maybe avoid dumb comments like “The People’s Republic…”? It is a good point.

        2. Honestly bernard, I am not certain. Here is why I say that. While I am very angry with the nursing home operator, I am not sure the regulatory process would have helped here, given how quickly events developed. My perception is the regulatory process takes months and months, and we needed action in hours and days.

          What I conclude is that Kirkland nursing home (in WA) event back in February was a signal, not noise. The signs were all there, but we did not recognize the signals for what they were. There are many times in our all too short short lives where things like this happen. We see/experience an event, and we rely on pattern recognition and problem solving strategies out of habit to address them. And the occasion/event requires a completely new and unbiased way to assess and solve the problem. That happened here. Does that make sense?

          One thing I will say…we needed faster action for nursing homes. 100%, no debate. That is just a general observation, not directed at anyone in particular. Whether that is the regulatory process, or something else is up for debate.

          Digital technologies should enable faster, and better decisions, and change the entire regulatory process (meaning, the way we actually promulgate regulations).

  17. Testing the symptomatic makes no sense. We already know what they should do — self quarantine until their symptoms go away, or go to a hospital if you have { some list of symptoms }.

    We should be testing the asymptomatic before they spread it.

    The whole thing reminds of that Hungarian mathematician and the WWII bombers coming back with bullet holes. You put armor everywhere you don’t see them.

    https://medium.com/@penguinpress/an-excerpt-from-how-not-to-be-wrong-by-jordan-ellenberg-664e708cfc3d

    1. Diagnostic testing to determine treatment is still a thing, though.

    2. Testing the symptomatic makes no sense.

      Not for older people with pre-existing conditions. It is important for deciding the standard of care that doctors determine as early as possible whether the patient has (relatively benign) seasonal flue, or far-more-life-threatening Covid-19.

  18. So there is disagreement about who “needs a test.” OK. Big deal.

    If only we had a free market.

    1. Quite an assortment of reasons why testing is unnecessary—all coming from freelancers who in other comments number themselves among Trump supporters. Why would that be, I wonder?

      1. I’m not giving any reasons why testing is unnecessary. All I’m saying is, there’s disagreement. Naturally.

        Let’s say one side says, we need to test everyone in the country 3 times over the next 18 months. That’s a billion tests. Let’s say the other side says no, we need to test everyone in the country 15 times. That’s 5 billion tests.

        Who’s right? Don’t know, don’t care. The point is, there’s a disagreement.

        Which leads me to my point. In a market system, there would be no need for an argument about how many test are needed, and tests would be more plentiful and cheaper. In our system, a mix between crony capitalism and “command and control,” you have just a bunch of political nonsense that focuses on this one idiot up top.

        https://mises.org/wire/its-time-track-fdas-death-toll?fbclid=IwAR2dz5LaoML5pbcy7y-E-aXmLjsUwF-RbdPbO74DiNWoY0IAZl6XT2vyEMw

        1. M L, there is science in epidemiology. With numbers, and computations. And (dare I say it?) expertise. When you mentioned, “our system,” you forgot to mention expertise.

          Your suggestion is apparently that the free market provides a convenient way to bypass all that, and let everyone vote on the right policy choice, with their votes tallied according to their means. Perhaps you prefer that because you suppose it would be tyrannical to privilege expert opinions about managing pandemics over other opinions you might get by polling armed demonstrators at the Michigan statehouse.

          Vote on biological facts all you want; nature won’t be following the election returns. On pandemic policy, let political leaders make final decisions, but with regard to the facts, stick with the experts.

          And as for MisesInstitute, and the advantages of a free market in quack remedies, seems like it’s a bad moment to be pushing that, given the unhappy experience of off-label promotions for malaria drugs and disinfectants.

    2. Yeah, lets determine need by who has $$. That’s a great and very moral idea.

  19. Poor Senators might have to pay for their own test Boohoo! The horrors! Maybe Prof. Adler should get a TDS test.

    1. Missed the point entirely, you’ll fit in nicely here.

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