22 May 2020

US passes South Korea in virus testing as Trump unveils expanded effort

by Paul Bedard  | April 27, 2020 05:01 PM

The United States has passed South Korea, considered the gold standard by the media, in testing for the coronavirus, and, in hot spots such as New York City, has done several times more per capita than the Asian nation.

As President Trump rolled out a new campaign to expand testing on Monday, officials drew attention to the overall effort by the administration in giving over 5 million tests and working in partnership with private labs and firms to increase the rate.

“We made such strides like you wouldn't even believe it,” Trump said, some 45 days after the testing crisis hit and the administration set to find, validate, and process new testing from scratch.

In a Cabinet Room meeting, he said, according to the pool report, “Today, we're releasing our blueprint for state testing plans and rapid response programs. Together, we're accelerating testing for Americans and retail locations across the country, and, especially in our African American and Hispanic communities, we're going very, very strong in those communities. There are currently 73 retail sites, testing sites, in 25 states in those specific areas, and we're increasing it very substantially.”

Today, @WhiteHouse released a Testing Overview that describes our unprecedented effort to expand the nation’s testing capacity. It lays out an 8-steps describing actions taken to date to mobilize the most aggressive testing expansion in American history. https://t.co/tUuRJOG8F0

— Alyssa Farah (@Alyssafarah) April 27, 2020
Officials noted that the U.S. overtook South Korea last week and has conducted 16.42 COVID-19 tests per 1,000. South Korea is at 11.68 per 1,000.

“The media repeatedly criticized the administration for not testing as much as South Korea, yet now, they completely ignore the results of President Trump’s efforts,” said an administration official.

The administration shared credit with private industry, which worked with the White House and its coronavirus task force to rush new tests to the field, with the aid of reduced regulations. The president on Friday signed a bill with another $25 billion for testing.

Officials also pointed to a comment last Friday from Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, on tests. “If you want to get the kind of blanket testing and availability that anybody can get it or you could even do surveillance to find out what the penetrance is, you have to embrace the private sector. And this is exactly what you're seeing, because you can't do it without it … the system was not designed for what we need," he said.

Source: US passes South Korea in virus testing as Trump unveils expanded effort

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