One of Mike Pence’s key coronavirus roles is to batter, deep fry, and roll in sugar the sh#t sandwich that is the testing situation in the United States of America. It didn’t go over well when Pence briefed Democratic senators, and it didn’t go over well with governors when Pence claimed “there is a sufficient capacity of testing across the country today for any state in America” on Sunday.
Directly in response to that claim, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, said it was “not accurate.” Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, called the claim “delusional.” Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, also a Democrat, said her state could do “double or triple” its current level of testing if it had the materials needed. But while not every governor responded directly to Pence, any number of other governors have also made clear that there is not “a sufficient capacity of testing” for their states.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, recently spoke about the need for more tests; according to one expert, Arizona needs twice as many tests each month as it has conducted so far in total. Fellow Republican Gov. Chris Sununu of New Hampshire called the lack of testing kits for his state’s 13 rapid testing devices “incredibly frustrating.” On Friday, Sununu admitted that “we’re not anywhere near [reopening the state] right now, to be honest about it,” and alluded to the need for more testing in figuring that out, saying: “As we increase capacity [for testing], we’re still potentially a couple weeks away from finding a positive trend.” New Hampshire’s state epidemiologist said: “Number one, [we need] much more testing, we’re working on that.”
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves found a slightly different route to disagreeing with Pence on the availability of testing. Reeves is totally on board with Donald Trump’s ardent wish to reopen as many businesses as possible, testing be damned. “We can't wait until there's a cure to this. We can't wait until every single person can get tested every single day to open up our economy,” he told Fox News' Neil Cavuto. Ha ha, what a pipe dream to have adequate testing, let’s downplay it as “every person every single day.”
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster is reopening many businesses, but he acknowledged that “we are still in a dangerous situation,” and the state’s Department of Health and Environmental Control is “looking for ways to increase testing,” WSOC TV reported.
None of this exactly screams “a sufficient capacity of testing across the country today for any state in America.”