(MADISON, WI) — Yesterday, just over one month after the Trump administration promised there’d be over 27 million tests in the US market by the end of March, Mike Pence badgered Wisconsin with a publicity stunt to distract from Donald Trump’s failed COVID-19 response and his refusal to enact a nationwide testing a contact tracing program. Wisconsinites didn’t let this go unchallenged, blasting the administration for putting people at risk. Congressman Mark Pocan, State Senator Dave Hansen, Madison area nurse Shari Signer, and Susan Berna, who lost both jobs due to coronavirus, called out the administration for their failure to properly respond to the pandemic.

See, in part, what Wisconsinites said about the administration’s response to the Coronavirus pandemic:

WPR: “Shari Signer, an inpatient nurse in Madison, spoke with reporters on the Tuesday call organized by Pocan’s office. She and her husband are both nurses. Signer said she was recently told to keep reusing masks ‘until there are visible holes or broken straps on them.’ ‘I’m expected to wear the same mask from patient room to patient room, despite their isolation, despite their health care conditions,’ she said. At the end of the day, she puts the mask in a brown paper bag to be re-worn the next day. ‘It is outrageous that health care workers continue to show up for a battle against a deadly virus without the protection, resources and support that we need to safely do our jobs,’ she said.”

Wisconsin Examiner: “[Senator Dave] Hansen concurred, adding, ‘From reports that the White House was warned as early as November to Trump admitting he knew as early as January about the impending crisis, Trump slow rolled his response to the pandemic that has taken over our lives.’…And [Susan] Berna talked about desperately seeking coverage under the ACA. ‘I feel President Trump has really failed all of us,’ she said, ‘by not allowing the marketplace to be open for a longer period of time so that we could get the insurance not only that we can afford, but that would take care of us if we do catch this horrible virus.’”

The Cap Times: “Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Town of Vermont, goes to the heart of matter when he says, ‘The lack of crucial supplies needed to fight COVID-19 is straining hospitals and putting Wisconsinites and health care workers at risk.’ Pocan speaks an urgent truth when he explains, ‘The federal response has been woefully inadequate to the needs of our state. We need FEMA to step up. Nationwide, we are failing to test people for this deadly virus quick enough. Wisconsin labs are attempting to ramp up capacity and serve the people of our state, but cannot do so without the testing supplies the federal government to provide. States like Wisconsin are doing everything in their power to fight this pandemic, but the federal government’s failures are threatening us all.’

MJS: “U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, a Democrat who represents Madison and the surrounding area, called the federal response to the pandemic ‘pathetic.’ ‘Where the hell is the federal government response for places like Wisconsin?,’ Pocan said. ‘If we can’t test, we can’t open up. Where the hell are the supplies for the state of Wisconsin and the people who live here?'”

The AP: Pocan, citing a letter his office received from the Federal Emergency Management Agency earlier on Tuesday, said that Wisconsin has received only a fraction of the supplies that Evers has requested. The White House provided a tally that included supplies provided by FEMA as well as what has been purchased from private vendors ‘It’s pathetic what they’ve delivered us in the state of Wisconsin,’ Pocan said.”

NBC News: “Officials have identified seven [now 19] people who appear to have contracted the coronavirus through activities related to the April 7 election in Wisconsin, Milwaukee’s health commissioner said, and advocates worry that they could be just the ‘tip of the iceberg.’…Now, Wisconsin Democrats worry that there may be more yet-to-be-reported cases…‘I fear this is just the beginning,’ Democratic state Sen. Dave Hansen told reporters on a conference call Tuesday.” [Senator Hansen went on to discuss the dire need for Trump and the federal government to step up their PPE and testing support for Wisconsin]

Spectrum1 News

WBAY Green Bay

WEAU Madison

WITI Milwaukee

Additional Background on testing failure:

On March 28, The Date By Which Giroir Had Promised 27 Million Tests Kits Would Be Made Available, The U.S. Had Conducted Just 801,416 Tests. “March 28 Tests in the United States: 801,416 (2,442 tests per million people. 16.1 percent positive rate.) Tests in South Korea: 387,925 (7,568 tests per million people. 1.5 percent positive rate.) …Notice, too, that this was the day mentioned by Giroir on which 27 million test kits would be available. To date, fewer than 1 million tests had been conducted.” [Washington Post, 3/31/20]

During The Week Of April 12, “The Number Of Coronavirus Diagnostic Tests Being Completed Every Day Has Plateaued Over The Last Week — At A Number That Falls Far Short Of What Experts Say Is Needed.” “The number of coronavirus diagnostic tests being completed every day has plateaued over the last week — at a number that falls far short of what experts say is needed… Several factors are holding it back:  Supply shortages for key test ingredients, swabs, test kits, and personal protective equipment. Poor coordination: Some labs have excess testing capacity, but aren’t being sent samples from the providers collecting them. Rules about who gets tested: Many states have limited testing to the sickest patients, and caseloads are dropping overall. But clinicians often have discretion as to who they test.” [Axios, 4/17/20]

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