America spent the spring building a bridge to August, spending trillions and shutting down major parts of society, Axios' Dan Primack and Nicholas Johnston write.
- The bridge was to be a bent coronavirus curve. On the other side was some semblance of normal, where kids go to school and their parents go to work.
Why it matters: We blew it. We built a pier, instead.
We blew it on testing. President Trump regularly brags and complains about the number of COVID-19 tests conducted in the U.S. But America hasn't built the infrastructure necessary to process and trace the results.
- Quest Diagnostics says its average turnaround time for a COVID-19 rest has lengthened to "seven or more days" — decreasing the chance that asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic carriers will self-quarantine.
We blew it on schools. Congress allocated $150 billion for state and local governments as part of the CARES Act. But that was aimed at maintaining status quo services in the face of plummeting tax revenue.
- There was no money earmarked for schools to buy new safety equipment, or to hire additional teachers for smaller classes.
- The administration insists that schools should reopen this fall because kids are less likely to get very sick from the virus. But it hasn't offered detailed plans to protect older teachers or pupils' family members.
We blew it on economics. The CARES Act was bold and bipartisan, a massive stimulus to meet the moment.
- But it's running out, without an extension plan in place.
- Expanded unemployment benefits expire in days.
The bottom line: It didn't have to be this way.