President Donald Trump said Thursday that there have been more than two million coronavirus tests conducted in the United States but conceded that mass testing is not going to happen.
“I’m reporting today that we passed two million tests completed in the United States,” Trump said during the White House coronavirus task force’s news briefing, adding that the tests are “highly sophisticated and highly accurate.”
The Trump administration has faced widespread criticism for the lack of a testing system across the country to identify coronavirus patients and track the spread of the outbreak. While testing has ramped up in recent weeks, the lack of an aggressive testing regimen early in the outbreak led to accusations that the government missed a chance to reduce the speed and scale of the pandemic in the US. The US now leads the world in the number of reported cases.
As many people with symptoms consistent with coronavirus struggle to get tested — including health care workers such as nurses — it’s still not clear how the country will emerge from its current state. Many states are operating under stay-at-home orders and the federal government is recommending strict social distancing guidelines in order to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Trump conceded to CNN’s Jim Acosta that there will not be mass coronavirus testing for all Americans when the country goes back to work.
“We want to have it and we’re going to see if we have it. Do you need it? No. Is it a nice thing to do? Yes. We’re talking about 325 million people and that’s not gonna happen, as you can imagine, and it would never happen with anyone else, either,” the President said. “Other countries do it, but they do it in a limited form. We’ll probably be the leader of the pack.”
Trump also suggested there would be “massive testing” in “certain areas” of the country.
By Maegan Vazquez and Betsy Klein, CNN