Donald Trump only ‘realized’ coronavirus testing was a fiasco on TUESDAY top adviser says in front of him at press conference – and he says: ‘We don’t want everybody taking this test’
- Coronavirus response coordinator Deborah Birx said Trump realized Tuesday ‘our current approach to testing was inadequate’
- Trump repeatedly stated that ‘we don’t want everybody taking this test’
- He said he had ‘learned a lot about this over the last two weeks’
- Officials have warned the U.S. is dramatically short of needs for testing
- About 13,000 Americans had been tested in public labs Friday morning
- Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?
President Donald Trump’s intensive focus on severe problems in the lack of availability of testing for the coronavirus began only in recent days, according to his response coordinator.
Coronavirus response coordinator Deborah Birx said Trump only demanded a new approach upon learning of the scope of the problem last week, after country-by-country rates had long revealed how behind the U.S. was in identifying the spread of the virus here.
Trump himself told reporters at the White House how much he had learned about the problem ‘over the last two weeks.’ He spoke on a day U.S. tests in government labs hit 13,000 while South Korea was taking 10,000 tests per day.
Ambassador Debbie Birx, the White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator, displays the new coronavirus testing protocols alongside President Donald Trump. She said that last Tuesday, ‘seeing the spread of the virus around the globe, the president realized that our current approach to testing was inadequate’
‘Last Tuesday, seeing the spread of the virus around the globe, the president realized that our current approach to testing was inadequate to meet the needs of the American public,’ said coronavirus response coordinator Deborah Birx.
He asked for an entire overhaul of the testing approach.
‘He immediately called the private sector laboratories to the White House as noted and charged them with developing a high through-put quality platform that could meet the needs of the American public,’ Birx said.
Her comments Friday came days after Trump said any American who wanted a test could get one.
‘We don’t want everybody taking this test. It’s totally unnecessary,’ Trump said of coronavirus testing
U.S. President Donald Trump declares the coronavirus pandemic a national emergency during a news conference in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, U.S., March 13, 2020
The number of infected Americans is on a steady upswing
U.S. coronavirus cases continue to rise
Health care worker tests people at a drive-thru testing station run by the state health department, for people who suspect they have novel coronavirus, in Denver, Colorado, U.S. March 11, 2020
Healthcare workers from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment check in with people waiting to be tested for COVID-19 at the state’s first drive-up testing center on March 12, 2020 in Denver, Colorado
At his press conference, Trump changed his approach, discouraging people who aren’t showing symptoms from taking the test.
‘We don’t want everyone running out and taking’ the test,’ Trump said. ‘Only if you have certain symptoms.’
He said at another point: ‘We don’t want everybody taking this test. It’s totally unnecessary.’
Trump’s comments on testing came as his team announced new efforts to enlist private sector and government forces to make testing more available. WallMart said it would make parking lot space available for drive-in testing, in one of the new measures.
Trump claimed he had no knowledge of a decision at the start of his term to eliminate a national security directorate focused on global health security and biodefense.
‘I don’t know anything about it,’ Trump said. ‘You say we did that. I don’t know anything about it.’
Birx said tests were taking ‘several days’ in the past but that new testing would go faster because extraction of genetic material to look for virus could now be more automated.