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The Nobel laureate Paul Romer says that if the US wants to return to normal this summer, the government should test every resident for the novel coronavirus every two weeks and isolate those who test positive.
He said it would probably cost about $100 billion, which is only a fraction of the more than $2 trillion that Congress has already spent dealing with the coronavirus.
"It's totally in our control to fix this," he told The Washington Post. "We should be spending $100 billion on the testing. We should just get it going. It's just not that hard."
A Nobel laureate in economics is calling on the US government to test every resident multiple times for the novel coronavirus to get the country back to normal this summer, for a cool $100 billion.
Paul Romer, a former World Bank chief economist who won the 2018 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for modeling the US and global economies, told The Washington Post the government should test every person every two weeks and isolate those who tested positive.
He said it would probably cost about $100 billion, a massive sum that is still only a fraction of the more than $2 trillion that Congress has spent dealing with the coronavirus.
"It's totally in our control to fix this," he told The Post. "We should be spending $100 billion on the testing. We should just get it going. It's just not that hard."
The US had conducted 5,593,495 tests as of Monday, according to the COVID Tracking Project, an initiative run by data scientists and journalists that keeps a daily count of the number of coronavirus across the US based on what state and local health agencies have reported.
The US has been under scrutiny for the slow rollout of its testing. Seven weeks ago, on March 8, for example, South Korea's number of tests per million citizens was roughly 700 times that of the US. South Korea had tested 189,000 people, while America had tested only 1,707. The discrepancy was especially notable since, as Business Insider previously reported, the two countries announced their first coronavirus cases on the same day.
Romer said screening should begin with healthcare and frontline workers before widening to test the rest of the population, harnessing university labs to process tests.
Romer is not alone with his call for mass testing. A "road map" report from Harvard University published April 20 suggested that 20 million people a day needed to be tested by midsummer if the economy was to be remobilized.
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