04.20.20

WA Rep. Kilmer: ‘No One Should be Satisfied’ With US COVID-19 Testing Response

Congress may not be meeting in person right now as part of ongoing social distancing measures, but as Washington Rep. Derek Kilmer points out, “the work continues.”

As WA outbreak wanes, there’s only one ‘real solution’ to reopening

“Obviously, it’s not happening in marble buildings in our nation’s capital — it’s a lot of teleconferences and video conferences,” Rep. Kilmer told KIRO Radio’s Dave Ross.

Currently, lawmakers in Congress are working to craft the next round of coronavirus aid legislation, including a measure to extend payroll protection through the life of the outbreak.

Beyond that, Kilmer wants to start building automated measures into future bills, so that Congress doesn’t need to keep going through the legislative process every time a new round of aid is needed.

“One of the things that I have talked about before is the value of building in automatic triggers into these various federal interventions, so that if we’re still in the hole, another round of support to state and local governments, another round of support to hospitals, and additional funding for these (payroll protection) programs is triggered automatically,” he proposed.

As Congress continues that work, Kilmer sees the federal response out of the White House as continuing to be inadequate, particularly related to testing capacity.

“I think no one should be satisfied with the response thus far,” he noted. “We’re still not seeing the testing capacity that is needed so that folks can get back to work and so that we can save some lives.”

According to researchers at Harvard University, the United States won’t be able to safely relax social distancing measures unless it triples its daily coronavirus tests in the next month.

Harvard estimates that the U.S. will need to be performing between 500,000 and 700,000 daily tests if it’s going to reopen by the middle of May. In April, we’ve averaged 146,000 tests per day.

“The public health professionals are pretty clear on this,” Kilmer said. “To avoid getting a repeat of what we’ve just gone through, we need to be confident that the people who are going back into public places and working in close proximity to one another aren’t sick.”


By:  Nick Bowman
Source: My Northwest