On Friday, President Donald Trump tried to assure the American people that his administration would take new steps to fight the novel coronavirus outbreak, announcing a spate of public-private partnerships to ratchet up the feds’ response to the national emergency.
One of those corporate-governance plans, Trump said, was a website directing sickened Americans to test locations for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new strain of the virus. Google would design it, explained Vice President Mike Pence.
That was wrong: Google had no idea it would get roped into a White House plan. But after the fumble, Google’s sister company Verily confirmed it was building a website to help direct people to coronavirus testing sites. (Later, Google announced it was building yet another site that would provide coronavirus information, similar to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization.)
Verily’s internet tool, which screens individuals who believe they have the coronavirus, went live Sunday evening. Instead of facilitating nationwide testing, however, the site serves only two counties in California. It doesn’t offer services for the rest of America’s 3,141 counties and county-equivalents.