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No, President Trump, Testing Isn't Causing California's Case Counts to Rise

Tests vs. positive cases in California. (The COVID Tracking Project)
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President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have repeatedly attributed the increase in the coronavirus case count in the United States to an increase in testing.

“We’re doing so much testing, so much more than any other country,” Trump said in an interview with CBN News on Monday. “And to be honest with you, when you do more testing, you find more cases. And then they report our cases are through the roof.”

“I would just encourage you all, as we talk about these things, to make sure and continue to explain to your citizens the magnitude of increase in testing,” Pence said on a call with the nation’s governors last week, according to audio obtained by The New York Times. “And that in most of the cases where we are seeing some marginal rise in number, that’s more a result of the extraordinary work you’re doing.”

Charles Ornstein and Ash Ngu of ProPublica took a hard look at those claims and found the assertions were not backed up by the data.

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The found California is among a handful of states that saw "increases in both testing and in positive results that roughly tracked each other, though the increase in positive cases outpaced the increase in testing."

ProPublica also found that positive cases in California "had recently pulled away from any increase in testing."

The bottom line:

While it is true that there has been a dramatic increase in testing since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the increase in positive cases in recent weeks cannot be attributed to the rise in testing alone.

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