The rate of recorded coronavirus infections has spiked in recent weeks across much of the U.S., translating into new criticism of the Trump administration.
During a Sunday appearance on Face the Nation, however, Vice President Mike Pence argued that the recent reports actually reflect an increase in testing nationwide. He told CBS host John Dickerson that today’s COVID-19 testing looks much different than it did earlier on in the pandemic.
“I think it’s inarguable that the historic increase in testing that we’ve accomplished in this country has played a role in the new cases, particularly among younger Americans,” the vice president said.
“Because of the public-private partnerships”
Pence went on to contrast the current rate of testing with April, at which time he said that “in most states in this country, we were not testing people that had no symptoms or were below a certain age.”
During the first peak, he noted that resources were being devoted to the elderly and those with obvious symptoms of the virus.
“But now, because of the public-private partnerships that President Trump initiated, we’re literally able to test anyone in the country that would want a test, who comes forward,” Pence continued.
He went on to defend a controversial statement President Donald Trump made during a recent rally in Oklahoma regarding a desire to slow down testing in order to see a decrease in reported cases.
“The president was observing the fact that rising cases, which the media has focused exclusively on, has been, in part, a result of increased testing,” Pence said.
“Sacrifices that the American people made”
As Politico reported, Dr. Anthony Fauci said during his recent testimony before the House energy and commerce committee that the president had not ordered any slowdown in testing.
“What the media doesn’t focus on at all is, because of the sacrifices that the American people made in those 45 days to slow the spread and the good common-sense measures they continue to do, we’ve continued to see fatalities decline,” Pence added.
The vice president said he grieves “for every American family that has lost of loved one, for the more than 125,000 Americans that we’ve lost in this,” vowing that increased testing “will be a critical part” of the ongoing battle against COVID-19.
While Trump’s many critics might find fault with the language he has used, few could argue with Pence’s defense that “the volume of new cases is, in part, a result of the rapid scaling of testing that we’ve done across the country.”