Populist incompetence has consequences

As of Wednesday night, there are now 842,629 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States (a 2.2 percent increase from yesterday) and 46,784 deaths (a 3.9 percent increase from yesterday), according to the Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 Dashboard, leading to a mortality rate among confirmed cases of 5.6 percent (the true mortality rate is likely much lower, but it’s hard to determine precisely due to incomplete testing regimens). Of 4,482,434 coronavirus tests conducted in the United States, 18.8 percent have come back positive. There are 121,739 Americans hospitalized with COVID-19 complications (a 1.2 percent increase from yesterday), and 76,601 have recovered from the virus (a 1.4 percent increase from yesterday).

The Morning Dispatch: What It Will Take to Really Reopen

I don’t log all these, which the Dispatch has been doing regularly. We either are a most medically incompetent nation (see death rate) or the most politically incompetent at broad testing of our people (we have skads more cases than diagnosed). If there’s a third option, it doesn’t come readily to mind. And I can rule out medical incompetence.

It matters, folks, when you elect a self-absorbed jackass as President, and sycophants to the Senate.

More Dispatch:

[W]hen it comes to the most important nationwide step—ramping up our current COVID testing apparatus—the states by themselves can do only so much. Further, it’s becoming clear that what’s needed at the federal level won’t just be leadership and coordination from the White House. Getting testing to the point where we can rely on it to open the economy is likely to require one big thing: for Congress to open up the checkbook and shell out for it.

That’s the contention, anyway, of a new report out this morning from Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Romer, whose arguments that the U.S. has been testing not only insufficient numbers of people but also the wrong people altogether have been cropping up all over the place in recent days, including in the NGA report discussed above. In the report, Romer argues that reopenings won’t be sustainable unless they’re accompanied by a testing response orders of magnitude greater than the one we have currently in place.

April 23, 2020

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