Is Trump lying about the coronavirus or does he not understand it?

Some Americans are willing to forgive lies from the president, but even they shouldn’t shrug off the possibility that Trump simply doesn’t understand the pandemic clearly enough to respond to it effectively.

“She tested positive out of the blue,” Trump said when a press secretary for the vice president tested positive for COVID-19. “This is why the whole concept of tests aren’t necessarily great,. The tests are perfect, but something can happen between a test––where it’s good, and then something happens, and all of a sudden––she was tested very recently and tested negative. And then today, I guess, for some reason, she tested positive.”

Does Trump even comprehend that testing negative for a disease, getting it, and later testing positive illustrates no problem with testing? The “something” that happened was an infection, the very thing tests are meant to catch.

The pandemic “was something nobody thought could happen,” Trump said. “Nobody would have ever thought a thing like this could have happened.” Maybe that was a lie. Or maybe Trump was ignorant of all the warnings from infectious-disease experts and officials from prior administrations. America has “developed a testing capacity unmatched and unrivaled anywhere in the world,” Trump said, “and it’s not even close.” Maybe he really believes that, or maybe he doesn’t get that testing capacity should be measured on a per capita basis.