Donald Trump Should Become the Testing President

Carl Juste/TNS via ZUMA

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Tyler Cowen thinks we’re going to reopen America fairly soon regardless of what epidemiologists think:

Any model of optimal policy should be “what should we do now, knowing the lockdown can’t last very long?” rather than “what is the optimal length of lockdown?”

The South Korean model has been endlessly praised, and it seems to have worked pretty well. It basically consists of two things:

  • Masks everywhere
  • Lots of testing and contact tracing

Only the second item is hard, but we could do it if Trump ever got serious about it. It’s a mystery why it seemingly remains on the back burner. It would be an ideal project for the federal government; it would allow Trump to invoke the DPA and other emergency powers; it’s highly public; and it’s something that every epidemiologist says is necessary, which allows Trump to say that he’s following the science. So why so little activity? Why not set a goal of a million tests a day and make a huge public spectacle out of tracking how close we are to our goal? Surely that would be a better campaign tool than daily meltdowns in the press room?

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