In a bizarre attempt to explain away the United States’ high COVID-19 case count and simultaneously boast about the number of tests conducted, President Donald Trump on Thursday claimed that without testing, there would be fewer coronavirus cases.
“Don’t forget, we have more cases than anybody in the world. But why? We do more testing,” Trump said following a tour of a medical supply distributor in Allentown, Pennsylvania. “When you test, you have a case. When you test, you find something is wrong with people. If we didn’t do any testing, we would have very few cases.”
He claimed that the media “don’t want to write” this “common sense” explanation for the U.S. case count, which on Thursday surpassed 1.4 million ― more than five times greater than any other country has reported. More than 85,800 people in the U.S. have died.
It is true that the U.S. has conducted the most tests, however, testing per capita ― a much more meaningful metric as a measure of success ― lags behind several other countries, including Russia, Italy, Germany, Spain and Canada. Experts continue to emphasize that widespread testing and contact tracing are the cornerstones of a successful strategy against the further spread of the virus.
With tests still not readily available for many Americans, the president has on multiple occasions tried to downplay the importance of testing, even though members of his White House inner circle are being tested every day.
“So we have the best testing in the world. It could be the testing’s, frankly, overrated? Maybe it is overrated,” the president continued on Thursday. “You know, they always say we want more, we want more because they don’t want to give you credit.”
His comments were met with fierce backlash on Twitter.