COVID-19 Testing A Big Flaming Dumpster Fire Named Donald Trump

Hot Mess

Coronavirus testing was how we were going to escape our pandemic prisons. We'd shelter in place for months while our government implemented robust testing and contact tracing, but states reopened without either of those things. The results were predictably disastrous.

"It's a hot mess," declares 47-year-old Jennifer Hudson, who still says “hot mess." The Tucson, Arizona, resident spent five days making an appointment through a local CVS for a drive-up COVID-19 test. She finally booked one more than a week after she first experienced symptoms — fatigue, shortness of breath, headache, and sore throat. She was told her results would probably be delayed. At this rate, if she had the coronavirus, she'd have recovered from it or been hospitalized by the time the test came back.

From the AP:

HUDSON: The fact that we're relying on companies and we don't have a national response to this, it's ridiculous. […] It's keeping people who need tests from getting tests.

This is an important point. Voluntary compliance is key to making this all work, but if testing is time-consuming and in some cases pointless because of delays, people aren't going to bother. It's not just because they're lazy or unfeeling of others. Self-isolation carries a significant cost while waiting for results. Doing the right thing could mean taking a week or more off work, which most Americans can't afford now even if they wouldn't lose their jobs.


'Blind Spots' In AZ Testing Suggest Community Spread Since Reopening In Mid-May | MTP Daily | MSNBC www.youtube.com

Donald Trump had promised us the Summer of No COVID! We were going to play golf with a frisbee without wearing a mask. Now we get to sit inside our cars in the baking heat waiting for our COVID-19 test. Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego described the situation in Arizona as “desperate." Residents have waited as long as 13 hours — or half a Gone with the Wind — for drive-through testing.

Arizona is already in deep shit with 27 percent of tests coming back positive, which means they're not testing nearly enough people. The Federal Emergency Management Agency is reportedly doubling the testing supplies it plans to ship to Arizona, but positive rates are up across the country, hitting 19 percent in Florida and 17 percent in South Carolina. FEMA is swimming upstream while the rest of us drown.

Patrick Friday, a United Methodist minister in Alabama, went to several hospitals and clinics in Birmingham this week to get checked after his school-age son tested positive. But he was told that unless he had a preexisting condition, he didn't qualify.

His son tested positive! It's absurd that we are still being stingy with the tests. These aren't Beyoncé tickets.

Finally, he ended up at a site offering rapid-result tests and his negative result came back quickly.

It's unclear from the article if these “rapid-result tests" are the ones from Abbott Laboratories that had shockingly high false negatives. The White House had praised them, so you knew it was only a matter of time before the Food and Drug Administration was all “nope!"

"We are several months into this," he said. "How can it be that we can't go in and get a test?"

Poor Mr. Friday is feeling like an Alabama woman trying to get safe access to an abortion.

Wednesday, Alabama recorded its third straight day of record COVID-19 hospitalizations. Gov. Kay Ivey lifted the state's stay-at-home order at the end of April. That was probably a mistake. She has urged residents to wear a mask in public but won't make it mandatory. That's definitely a mistake. The Alabama Department of Education has ordered 2.5 million masks for when school reopen but won't actually require students or faculty to wear them. Jesus H.

During an interview yesterday, where he resisted banging his head against the table, Dr. Anthony Fauci pleaded with Alabamans to wear masks.

FEMA needs to get more tests out there, but in the meantime, we need more statewide mask mandates, even in “red" states, as COVID-19 is going full General Sherman on the South. The "pretty please with ice cream on top" approach to mask wearing isn't working.

[Associated Press]

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle. Tickets are on sale now for his latest Nordo collaboration, "Curiouser and Curiouser," an adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." It promises to feel like an actual evening with SER (for good or for ill).

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