Politicians like to say they’re ‘tested.’ How about now?

A picture is worth a thousand words, but how about a Twitter banner?

Rep. Doug Collins' Twitter page is topped with a banner reading "Tested. Proven. Trusted." (Screenshot)
Rep. Doug Collins' Twitter page is topped with a banner reading "Tested. Proven. Trusted." (Screenshot)
Posted March 10, 2020 at 2:26pm

Rep. Doug Collins might want to reconsider the image displayed at the top of his campaign’s Twitter page — or then again, maybe he doesn’t.

“Tested. Proven. Trusted” appears in a large, all-caps font. The red and blue hues indicate patriotism. The words? They’re taking on a life of their own.

The Georgia congressman, who announced his run for Senate earlier this year, said Monday that he is self-quarantining after interacting with a person at CPAC who later tested positive for the coronavirus.

“While I feel completely healthy and I am not experiencing any symptoms, I have decided to self-quarantine at my home for the remainder of the 14-day period out of an abundance of caution,” Collins said in a statement.

What was once a bland campaign slogan has now collided with a new vocabulary of uncertainty, as Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said Monday that he didn’t know how many Americans had been tested for the novel coronavirus so far.

Who can get tested and how has dominated news coverage amid conflicting reports. The word is seemingly everywhere. “Anybody who wants a test gets a test,” President Donald Trump told reporters Friday, a day after his vice president said, “We don’t have enough tests.” As of Monday, Trump himself had not been tested, according to the White House.

When a political candidate says he’s “tested,” it doesn’t mean what it did just a week ago. The word used to convey experience. Now it’s suddenly topical.

Politicians aren't the only ones dealing with this seismic shift in vocabulary. (Remember all the people who Googled “corona beer virus”?) 

Interest in certain words is surging, according to dictionary editors. “Trending on Dictionary.com today: Pandemic. Pandemonium. Resilient,” went one tweet on Tuesday.

The definitions are hardly simple. While the World Health Organization has yet to call the outbreak a “pandemic” as of Tuesday afternoon, some news organizations, like CNN, have started to do so. (The latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: “It is likely that this virus will cause a pandemic.”)

For politicians, slogans are hardly the biggest concern right now. Campaign season is in full swing, which means the proverbial shaking of hands and the proverbial kissing of babies. But candidates are feeling pressure to pump the brakes (and vats of hand sanitizer).

Out on the trail, “candidates are the biggest ones who can risk transferring viruses,” North Carolina Rep. Greg Murphy, who has a medical degree and a background in urology, told Heard on the Hill last week.

With countless meet and greets and the occasional close-talker (it’s not just a bit from “Seinfeld”), elbow-bumping, however dorky, starts to look pretty appealing.

A spokesperson for Collins did not immediately respond to HOH’s request for comment.