Trump touts US testing capabilities as explanation for high number of COVID-19 cases

Donald Trump confirmed that while the US has surpassed one million coronavirus cases as of Tuesday, it’s due to the nation’s aggressive COVID-19 testing program.

“The only reason the U.S. has reported one million cases of CoronaVirus is that our Testing is sooo much better than any other country in the World,” Trump tweeted. “Other countries are way behind us in Testing, and therefore show far fewer cases!”

Mixed messages

South Korea and Singapore have been touted as the gold standard for testing, but Breitbart reported that local hotspots such as New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Louisiana have tested far more per capita than either nation.

More than five million tests have been administered nationwide, and Trump signed new legislation that allocates $25 billion for increased testing nationwide on Friday.

Widespread testing is seen as the key to controlling the impact of the virus, and the White House has sent mixed messages about the US’s capabilities in recent days.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House’s foremost infectious disease expert, said during a Tuesday CNN interview that he’s been “told” that the US testing plan will enable anyone who needs to get a test to be able to get one by June.

However, he was careful to put the onus on proving the claim on other agencies and officials, maintaining an air of skepticism about the rosy outlook.

“Everyone who needs a test, according to the way we’re approaching the identification, isolation, contact tracing, keeping the country safe and healthy, hopefully, we should see that as we get toward the end of May, the beginning of June,” Fauci said.

“That’s what I’m being told by the people who are responsible for the testing. I take them for their word. If that doesn’t happen, I’m going to go to them and say ‘what happened here, why didn’t it happen, and how can we fix it?’”

Expanding testing

Trump has come under fire from state governors and the media for not aiding the expansion of testing in the US fast enough from the beginning of the outbreak.

However, FDA commissioner Steven Hahn pointed out that the president has pushed the agency to “actually cut down as many barriers as we possibly could” in order to allow for innovation in the development and distribution of medical products.

The FDA has approved a stunning 63 different COVID-19 tests using the emergency use authorizations channel. Last week, the agency approved an at-home coronavirus testing kit that is projected to hit the market in the coming weeks.

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