There has been quite a controversy in regards to the U.S.’s rate of COVID-19 testing, as the president has made it clear that he wishes to slow down testing despite healthcare professionals’ opinions.
Trump remains adamant
At President Trump’s campaign rally in Tulsa, Alabama last weekend, the president made several comments about the rate of COVID-19 testing such as, “I don’t kid. Let me just tell you. Let me make it clear. We have got the greatest testing program anywhere in the world. We test better than anybody in the world. Our tests are the best in the world, and we have the most of them. By having more tests, we find more cases.”
Trump’s argument for higher COVID-19 statistics is in his own words: “When you do testing to that extent, you’re going to find more people,” Trump said during the rally. “You’re going to find more cases. So I said to my people, ‘Slow the testing down, please.’”
Senior White House aides attempted to clean up the confusion after the president’s comments by insisting that “they were made in jest.” To which Trump, disregarded their statements and persisted his opinion by tweeting the following:
Cases are going up in the U.S. because we are testing far more than any other country, and ever expanding. With smaller testing we would show fewer cases!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 23, 2020
Dr. Fauci proves Trump incorrect
“It’s the opposite,” Fauci said in reference to Trump’s remarks. “We’re going to be doing more testing, not less.”
FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, CDC Director Robert Redfield, and Assistant Secretary of Health Brett Giroir confirmed Fauci’s statement. The health professionals told the House panel that they had not been asked by the president to cut back tests.
Dr. Fauci and Director Redfield also informed the committee that President Trump did not consult with them before terminating relations with the World Health Organization (WHO). Both health officials said their agencies continue to work closely with the WHO.
Fauci went on to describe new infections in some areas as “disturbing.” Redfield said the increase is likely the result of more testing, but mainly because of the jump in community transmission as states have reopened.
Current COVID-19 statistics
The coronavirus death rate in the U.S. is rising above 120,000, while the nationwide surges
beyond 2.3 million. Public health experts universally urge the U.S. to administer more coronavirus testing– not less.
Health experts urge caution
Dr. Fauci Fauci called the new infections in some areas “disturbing” and continues to advise Americans to avoid crowded areas, remain social distancing, and to wear masks when in public.
“Plan A: don’t go in a crowd. Plan B: make sure you wear a mask,” said Fauci. Trump was heading at the time to a campaign event in Arizona, one of a handful of states seeing a spike in cases since relaxing social distancing guidelines.
Continued COVID-19 testing
Officials said the administration continues to scale up diagnostic testing capacity. The U.S. currently can run roughly 12 million tests a month. Giroir, who is in charge of the federal government’s testing strategy, told lawmakers he expects that number to grow to 40 to 50 million tests per month by the fall– which is quite the opposite of what the president continues to tell the country.