The Trump administration will begin sending out millions of coronavirus tests that report results in less than 15 minutes, President Donald Trump announced Monday.
At the White House, Trump and his aides hailed a breakthrough in testing that they said would help keep vulnerable communities safe while allowing states to open up classrooms and workplaces.
New 15-minute COVID-19 tests
The administration will send out 150 million new rapid tests, developed by Abbott, starting with 6.5 million this week, they said. 50 million of those tests will go to vulnerable populations, such as nursing homes and assisted living facilities, and the other 100 million will be sent to governors to help with reopening their schools and economies.
While governors can distribute the tests at their discretion, Trump and his aides called on them to focus on opening schools, something Trump has repeatedly advocated.
“The support my administration is providing would allow every state to on a very regular basis test every teacher who needs it,” Trump said.
Trump has consistently called for schools to open and for economically punishing lockdowns to be relaxed, suggesting that the virus is not as threatening as his critics allege and that children are at little risk.
“You have too many states that are locked down right now,” Trump said. “The governors are … nobody knows what the governors are doing actually.”
Trump admin seeks to reopen safely
The president’s critics claim that Trump failed to respond promptly to the virus, which has killed 200,000 Americans, and that the president has been too aggressive in pushing for a rollback of restrictions.
Trump and his aides painted a more optimistic picture, however, acknowledging a potential uptick in cases down the line while cautioning against panic. They noted a decline in hospitalizations and deaths in recent months, which Trump said provides a more “instructive” snapshot of how the country is faring.
“And it’s important to remember that as younger and healthier people return to work, and as we massively increase testing capacity, we will identify more cases and asymptomatic individuals in low-risk populations. This should not cause undue alarm,” Trump said.
“We are relentlessly focused on protecting the vulnerable while enabling healthy Americans to go back to work,” Trump added.
Trump has far more common sense and imagination than many of his critics, many of whom are still beating the drum of endless lockdowns. As Trump said, the country must find a way to open up schools and get healthy people working again. With initiatives like these, hopefully that will be a reality before long.