Donald Trump has consistently made a claim that the United States leads the world in testing. It is a claim that not only is not true, it’s also misleading in many ways.
We aren’t actually leading
We don’t have the most tests; China does. Per Worldometers.com, China has 90,410,000 to our 37,602,471. Now in terms of whole numbers, we are second in the world, but that’s not as great as it sounds since there are only two countries in the world with more people than America.
We’ve had 113,593 tests per one million people, which ranks 25th in the world as of today (June 6). That’s a long way from first.
But even that doesn’t really give us an accurate portrayal because different countries and different states report their testing numbers differently. Some countries are giving numbers for the people who were tested and some give the numbers of tests that were done.
The difference here is that many people are tested multiple times. It’s not always an apples-to-apples comparison.
Trump isn’t even responsible for the tests we do have
All that said, America has tested a lot of people. So why can’t we give Trump credit for that?
Because he abnegated that responsibility telling governors to take care of their own testing. After a brutal two months of insanity of cities and states bidding against one another for the same tests, driving the price through the roof testing.
So when Trump is talking about the “numbers” for the testing, it’s not his numbers. It’s like he’s the head coach of a football team where the QB audibles every play, and then takes credit for the playcalling that won the game.
The high number of tests is actually a bad thing
When you test matters too. By testing early and often, you can identify hot spots quickly, shut things down appropriately, and minimize the damage. If you cut it off early, you don’t have to do as many tests because you stop the virus before it gets going.
South Korea hit testing heavy early on, and was able to stop the virus in its tracks. So yes, now they “only” have 1,331,796 tests, but they don’t have the need to test as much.