- 6 in 10 Americans agree that new confirmed coronavirus cases in the US are due to an increased number of people infected with the virus, a new Pew Research Center survey showed.
- On the other hand, the survey found that over 60% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents point to more testing as the reason for the surge in the number of cases.
- Data shows that the number of cases has skyrocketed regardless of whether more people were tested.
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60% of Americans agree that newly confirmed coronavirus cases are primarily caused by new infections, according to a new survey – but most Republicans blame increased testing instead.
The survey, conducted by Pew Research Center, found that 62% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents said that rises in coronavirus case numbers are primarily because of increased testing. 80% of their Democratic counterparts said that more infections – not tests – led to more cases. Overall, 60% mostly blamed infections, while 39% mostly blamed tests.
According to a July analysis from STAT, most of the new cases in the US are, in fact, because of rising case counts and not because of increased testing. The analysis looked at data from The COVID Tracking Project to calculate the number of cases per 1,000 tests. Since the number of tests was fixed, the number of cases per thousand tests is independent of increased testing.
STAT found that in Florida, the number of cases between May to July per 1,000 tests jumped from 32 to 193, showing that the increase in cases was because the disease was more widespread, not because more people were getting tested.
For some states like New York, even with expanded testing, the number of cases dropped, according to STAT's analysis. New York doubled testing from May to July, but the number of cases dropped. This was true for 16 states and Washington, DC, which reported fewer cases per 1,000 tests, and overall, STAT reported.
Meanwhile, Trump has for long blamed testing for the increase in the number of cases, and last month called to pull out federal funding from 13 testing sites in 5 states.
Cases are going up in the U.S. because we are testing far more than any other country, and ever expanding. With smaller testing we would show fewer cases!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 23, 2020
To Trump's credit, STAT found that 7 states saw an increased number of cases that was partially associated with more testing.
Testing remains viral to prevent the spread of the virus, and Trump's call to cut federal testing contradicts the advice of public health experts. Dr. David Persse, public health authority for the Houston Health Department, told the US Surgeon General in an email obtained by Business Insider that losing federal funding would cause "catastrophic cascading consequences in the region's ability to adequately test, quarantine, and isolate." The Harvard Global Health Initiative says that only 18 states meet the "minimum targets" for testing aimed to reduce spread of the virus by testing those who are symptomatic.
The US has had more than 5.4 million confirmed cases of coronavirus as of Monday, according to Johns Hopkins University.