Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Playing the blame game

Testing. It’s the latest obsession by the mainstream media. Not that there’s anything wrong with testing someone for coronavirus, it’s crucial if you think you have it. The truth is testing has been pretty widespread for quite some time. You wouldn’t know that from watching the press frenzy at the daily White House briefings.

Although they’ve tried to get the message out, it still doesn’t seem to make it past the media firewall. Testing for coronavirus, or any other disease, is not the function of the federal government. In most cases it’s not the full function of the state and local governments. It’s a combination of local health departments and hospitals.

President Trump, in his frustration, displayed a print-out of 5,000 testing centers across the country. Some governors were still not aware that testing was available in their states, as amazing as that might sound. One governor had ordered tests from South Korea. Larry Hogan, the Republican governor of Maryland, used the influence of his South Korean-born wife to get 500,000 coronavirus tests flown in from South Korea. As Trump and Vice President Pence pointed out, there were already numerous testing sites all across Maryland. Many test sites across the country have been operating at only ten percent capacity.

A quick Internet search found news stories dating back to March with testing site locations all over Maryland. So what happened? Nobody’s quite sure. Pence said he’d been in contact with Governor Hogan but wasn’t sure why he ordered the tests from South Korea. Trump said of Hogan, “He could’ve saved a lot of money. He needed to get a little knowledge, that would’ve been helpful.” The Guardian characterized that as an attack on Hogan. It wasn’t an attack. It was an obvious point.

In Tennessee, there are testing sites all over the state. Some are run by hospitals like Vanderbilt that have walk-in clinics. You’ve been able to walk in since at least early March and get tested if the doctor on duty thinks you need it. The problem in mid-March was getting the results in a timely manner. What was supposed to take a couple of days ended up taking two weeks in some cases. That was presumably because of the backlog at places like Quest.

When this coronavirus first hit we were told by the health experts to not get tested unless you had all the major symptoms like shortness of breath, a dry cough, and a fever. Now we know some people don’t exhibit all, or sometimes any, of those symptoms. Some people simply have flu-like aches and congestion. Now they’re advising anyone with any symptoms to get tested.

It’s amazing how quickly the medical advice is evolving. First they said no masks. Now they’re advising everyone to wear a mask. That’s nobody’s fault. This disease is, in many ways, unlike anything we’ve dealt with before. The mainstream media love to take the luxury of current knowledge and apply it to situations weeks or even months ago. It’s not fair to do that to our health experts and it’s not fair to do it to President Trump.

Remember when this thing was just a curiosity? It was an outbreak, we were told, contained to Wuhan, China. The Chinese communist leaders chose to downplay the outbreak and not level with the rest of the world. That cost tens of thousands of lives.

I don’t think there’s anyone—Democrat or Republican—who isn’t acting with the best interest of the people at heart. It’s time for everyone to stop trying to score political points.

Phil Valentine is the host of the award-winning talk radio show, 
The Phil Valentine Showon SuperTalk 99.7WTN in Nashville. He's also co-host of The PodGOATs podcast and I'm Calling Bovine Scatology.

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