The Democrats envision a permanent public health infrastructure around testing and contact tracing, and are recommending that Congress establish a permanent fund for it pegged at $4.5 billion a year. But this emergency funding would be geared toward rolling out same-day testing and results. “If this is mishandled the disease could re-surge,” Schumer said. “Testing is the best tool we have to fight the virus today.”
The proposal coincides with a new report from Senate Democrats detailing how far behind other counties the U.S. is when it comes to testing. “After 12 weeks, and the appearance of more than 600,000 cases of COVID-19 and more than 25,000 deaths, the United States still lacks a national testing strategy to reliably and consistently test patients across the country,” the report from Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan states. “Instead, states have been forced to respond with limited federal support, leaving a patchwork of testing efforts across the country, limited data on the spread of the disease, and scarce supplies for testing and protection of health care workers.”
“By failing to implement widespread testing months ago, the United States has been left unprepared and our families are paying the price,” Sen. Stabenow said in a statement releasing the report. “Democrats are pushing for a national testing strategy in order to protect those on the frontlines of this health care crisis as well as contain the spread of the disease. And we know that rapid testing is the only real way we can feel confident that it is safe to reopen our economy.”
If they can just convince Trump that that’s how he gets his opened country, maybe they can make it happen.