Day 1,205: Trying to bash the need for widespread coronavirus testing, Trump accidentally makes perfect case for it

Multiple people in the White House have recently tested positive for the coronavirus, a part of the 1.3 million Americans who have contracted the disease.

One of Donald Trump’s personal valets tested positive, reportedly causing Trump to blow a gasket. Friday, Trump revealed that Katie Miller, Mike Pence’s spokesperson, tested positive as well. (Miller is married to Stephen Miller, a senior adviser regularly at Trump’s side.)

For the past week, Trump has all-but waved the white flag on putting any emphasis Americans’ safety. Beleaguered by testing problems for months — which experts say is the most crucial area to fix to safely reopen the country — Trump has publicly been dubious about the need for additional testing.

But he accidentally made the perfect case for why frequent testing is so vital when discussing Miller’s diagnosis.

“Katie, she tested very good for a long period of time, and then all of the sudden today she tested positive…So she tested positive out of the blue. This is why the whole concept of tests aren’t necessarily great. The tests are perfect but something can happen between the tests where it’s good and then something happens and all of the sudden. She was tested very recently and tested negative. And then today, I guess, for some reason, she tested positive.”

Trump is trying to throw cold water on the idea of frequent tests because one day someone’s negative and the next they’re positive. But that’s exactly why frequent tests are so important.

If Miller was not working in the White House and was tested rarely or not at all, like most Americans, she would have showed up to work Friday and Saturday and Sunday and maybe even longer until she was symptomatic. (Some people are never symptomatic and may still be able to spread the virus.) She would have been spreading the virus to her colleagues for days without knowing it. That’s exactly how mass spread happens.

By testing White House officials often, those that test positive can be quickly identified and quarantined. Trump’s valet and Miller were exposing people for the least amount of time possible. But for the vast majority of Americans, they’re being asked to rush back into society without anywhere near those same levels of protections.

Trump, in trying to make the opposite point, made the perfect case why the U.S. needs to greatly scale the amount of tests readily available.

1,205 days in, 257 to go

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TrumpTimer watches, tracks and reports about Donald Trump and his administration’s policies every day. TrumpTimer is also counting down until January 20, 2021.

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TrumpTimer watches, tracks and reports about Donald Trump and his administration’s policies every day. TrumpTimer is also counting down until January 20, 2021.

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