(Statement from 1600 Daily, the White House Daily News Briefing, April 27, 2020)
An Update on Coronavirus Testing
America has tested more patients for Coronavirus than any other nation on Earth. That milestone is no accident: It resulted from our Federal Government leading the most aggressive testing ramp-up in history.
Early and strong action made the difference. After the CDC published the genetic sequence for the first domestic case of Coronavirus, the Trump Administration mobilized a massive private-sector response. Since then, the FDA has worked with test developers across the country on emergency use authorizations (EUAs) related to virus detection.
In other words, President Trump is leading a true nationwide response, not simply a government-wide one. Given the scale of this global pandemic, that difference is key. During the 2016 Zika outbreak, the FDA issued only 20 testing-related EUAs. It authorized just 17 during the 2009 “swine flu” pandemic and only 13 for the 2014 Ebola Virus.
For Coronavirus, the FDA has issued nearly 70 emergency use authorizations thus far—and it’s doing so quickly. When the company Roche submitted an application for its test on March 13, for example, it was approved within 24 hours.
As President Trump helps governors prepare to safely reopen our country, America is now entering its third stage in testing:
- Stage 1 was the Launch: It included sequencing the virus, mobilizing the private sector to develop tests, issuing EUAs quickly, and working with commercial and research labs to ramp up testing capacity across the country.
- Stage 2 was about Scale: That meant identifying and expanding America’s testing infrastructure, as well as strengthening our national supply chain. To help increase production, President Trump invoked the Defense Production Act.
- Stage 3 will now accelerate Opening Up America Again: The Administration is helping governors as they do their part to update testing strategies in their states.
Today, the Administration released two important documents for this new stage in testing. The first is a Testing Overview Presentation, which lays out the 8-step expansion of America’s testing capacity over the past several months. The second is a Testing Blueprint, which will help states adopt robust testing plans as they prepare to reopen.
Combined, these efforts across government have resulted in the largest public- and private-sector response to a health crisis in U.S. history. Today’s announcement will help governors protect their citizens as America enters a new phase in its war on this virus.
Economic issues have life-or-death consequences for public health.
When President Trump took early, aggressive action against the Coronavirus—such as restricting travel from China in January—public safety was his top priority. As he prepares Americans to return to work, that emphasis on public health hasn’t changed.
From opioid safety to affordable healthcare, a strong economy is essential to the well-being of our citizens. The data is clear: “Safely reopening America’s economy is just what the doctor ordered,” says Admiral Brett Giroir, HHS’ Assistant Secretary for Health.
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