Trump Insists Coronavirus Testing ‘Going Very Well’
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President Donald Trump said the expansion of testing for coronavirus in the U.S. is “going very well,” following lengthy delays in the distribution of testing kits.
Appearing alongside Trump at a daily coronavirus briefing at the White House on Saturday, Vice President Mike Pence said that test results are in for about 195,000 Americans, and others have been tested at thousands of labs whose data hasn’t yet been rolled in.
More than 19,000 had been diagnosed as having the virus, Pence said. In a separate tally, Johns Hopkins University said more than 22,000 cases have been diagnosed as of Saturday, the fourth highest of any country.
Pence reiterated the administration’s call for Americans not to seek testing unless they’re showing symptoms of Covid-19, which can include fever, cough and shortness of breath.
“If you don’t have symptoms, don’t do a test,” Pence said. “It is another way that the American people can make sure that we are preserving the resources our health care workers need.”
Trump has refused to take responsibility for the nation’s shortage of coronavirus tests, a problem that persists despite repeated promises from top U.S. officials — particularly Pence — that it would be quickly alleviated.
Apple Steps Up
Trump has previously asserted that an Obama-era regulation prevented the government from more quickly developing and distributing tests for coronavirus. Experts on lab-developed tests have said there was no such rule.
Trump on Saturday again faulted previous administration’s for other shortcomings, such as the shortage of masks and other protective supplies for health-care workers’ safety.
The president and Pence expressed optimism about the supply of masks, noting that, for example, apparel maker Hanesbrands Inc. is retrofitting some facilities to manufacture masks. Pence also said Apple Inc. is donating 2 million industrial masks to health-care workers and called on other companies to follow suit.
“It’s a great time to go to your store room, and if you have N95 masks, if you’ve got 100 of them, if you’ve got 10,000 of them, load them up and drive them over to your local hospital,” Pence said.
Medically-themed television shows including CBS’s “Gray’s Anatomy” ABC’s “The Good Doctor,” have started donating stockpiled supplies, including masks, gowns and gloves, according to reports this week.
Trump also wondered why so many masks are used in the U.S. health care system, and suggested that some should be sanitized and reused to address the supply shortage.
Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in the National Institutes of Health, said labs are also working on a self-administered coronavirus test that would eliminate the need for the health-care worker to wear a mask.
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