KEY POINTS

  • President Donald Trump on Thursday said the U.S. has tested 10 million people for the COVID-19 coronavirus
  • He again claims this indicates his administration's success in mitigating the damage wrought by the pandemic
  • Health experts say the true measure of success is testing per capita and not total tests

Health experts worldwide have long said widespread coronavirus testing -- meaning testing per capita and not total tests -- is key to any country safely reopening its economy slowed to a crawl by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Based on this metric, Italy leads the world in tests per capita (or tests per one million people) at nearly 42,000 as of this week, according to Business Insider. Canada has some 29,800 while the United Kingdom has 29,200.

The U.S. is fourth with 28,500 tests per one million people, while Turkey ranks fifth at 16,700. The U.S. conducted 9.3 million tests in a population of 329 million persons as of May 11, and will exceed 10 million tests within the week.

Despite the medical consensus about testing per capita as the true measure of success, president Donald Trump continues to harp on total tests as the measure of his success in containing the pandemic. And he's also repeated his claim the U.S. would have very few COVID-19 cases today if it tested less people.

During a visit Thursday to a medical supply distributor in Pennsylvania, Trump again praised his administration for its successful coronavirus response, including increased testing.

"America has now conducted its 10 millionth test," said Trump, as quoted by Politico. "That’s as of yesterday afternoon. Ten million tests we gave. Ten million."

He said CVS has just committed to establish up to 1,000 new coronavirus testing sites by the end of May. He also said testing will ramp-up "and the 10 millionth will go up very, very rapidly."

"And don’t forget, we have more cases than anybody in the world," he added. "But why? Because we do more testing. When you test, you have a case. When you test, you find something is wrong with people. If we didn’t do any testing, we would have very few cases."

After making this implausible statement, Trump continued by alleging the news media still refuses to report his “common sense” explanation for America’s high case numbers. He repeated the false claim the U.S. has tested more people than other countries, ignoring the truth the U.S. doesn't lead the world in testing per capita.

"So we have the best testing in the world," claimed Trump. "It could be the testing’s, frankly, overrated? Maybe it is overrated. But whatever they start yelling, we want more, we want more. You know, they always say we want more, we want more because they don’t want to give you credit."

US President Donald Trump wears protective goggles during a visit to a Honeywell plant that manufactures personal protective equipment in Phoenix, Arizona US President Donald Trump wears protective goggles during a visit to a Honeywell plant that manufactures personal protective equipment in Phoenix, Arizona Photo: AFP / Brendan Smialowski