One Month Ago, The Trump Administration Promised 27 Million Tests — We’re Still Nowhere Near That
April 21, 2020
“One month ago today, the Trump administration promised there would be 27 million coronavirus tests available by the end of March, and Trump repeatedly promised widespread availability of testing,” said DNC Deputy War Room Director Daniel Wessel. “In reality, our testing capacity is nowhere near the levels Trump promised or what experts say will be necessary to safely reopen the economy. Trump has not only failed to expand testing and contributed to supply shortages, but he refuses to accept responsibility and has denied that issues even exist.”
One month ago, the Trump administration expanded on an earlier promise that “anybody that wants a test can get a test,” saying 27 million tests would be available by March 28.
March 21 — GIROIR: “So, from March 2nd to March 14th, we have put over 10 million laboratory tests into the US commercial market, and we expect that, by March 28th, to be well over 27 million into the market.”
March 10 — TRUMP: “The testing has gone very well. And when people need a test, they can get a test.”
March 6 — TRUMP: “Anybody that wants a test can get a test. That’s what the bottom line is.”
The nation’s testing capacity is still nowhere near the levels that the administration indicated it would be last month — in fact, on March 28, the date they promised 27 million tests would be available, the U.S. had conducted just over 800,000 tests.
Washington Post: “March 28 Tests in the United States: 801,416 (2,442 tests per million people. 16.1 percent positive rate.) Tests in South Korea: 387,925 (7,568 tests per million people. 1.5 percent positive rate.)…Notice, too, that this was the day mentioned by Giroir on which 27 million test kits would be available. To date, fewer than 1 million tests had been conducted.”
Politico: “Just over 4 million tests have been completed so far, for a population of roughly 330 million Americans, amid widespread reports of sick Americans being unable to get tested quickly — increasing the odds of spreading the virus. […] The lag in testing comes in part from the president and the administration’s early efforts to downplay the threat of the virus, along with changes in leadership on the coronavirus task force and early missteps by the CDC to develop a test.”
Axios: “The number of coronavirus diagnostic tests being completed every day has plateaued over the last week — at a number that falls far short of what experts say is needed… Several factors are holding it back: Supply shortages for key test ingredients, swabs, test kits, and personal protective equipment. Poor coordination: Some labs have excess testing capacity, but aren’t being sent samples from the providers collecting them. Rules about who gets tested: Many states have limited testing to the sickest patients, and caseloads are dropping overall. But clinicians often have discretion as to who they test.”
Throughout March and April, the Trump administration has bungled efforts to expand testing and continued to sow confusion for state and local governments.
NPR: “The Department of Health and Human Services is stepping back from a plan to end support on Friday for community-based coronavirus testing sites around the country. Instead the agency says local authorities can choose whether they want to transition to running the programs themselves or continue with federal oversight and help. The news came after NPR reported Wednesday that some local officials were critical of plans to end the program before the pandemic peaks.”
Politico: “Trump has made other announcements — such as widespread testing by companies in parking lots — that he then mocked as outside the federal government’s responsibility.”
Trump has repeatedly shirked responsibility for the nation’s testing failures and proven himself divorced from reality.
TRUMP: “I don’t take responsibility.”
TRUMP: “I haven’t heard anything about testing being a problem.”
TRUMP: “There’s not a lot of issues with testing.”
Wall Street Journal: “[Trump] has asked White House aides for economic response plans that would allow him to take credit for economic successes while providing enough flexibility to place the fault for any failures on others.”