Requests White House Task Force publish its testing plans, including a projection of the number of tests that will be available this week, in one week, three weeks, and six weeks.
Washington (March 16, 2020) – After conflicting statements from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Vice President Mike Pence, and the White House Coronavirus Task Force, Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) today wrote to the Trump administration about the lack of transparency concerning U.S. testing capacity for COVID-19. On March 6, 2020, at an event held at the CDC in Atlanta, President Trump claimed that “[a]nybody that wants a test can get a test.” This directly contradicted widespread reporting from medical professionals on the ground, and necessitated a correction by Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex M. Azar II: “You may not get a test unless a doctor or public health official prescribes a test.” And on March 10, 2020, Vice President Pence said that “[a] million tests are in the field.” But according to reports, as of March 11, 2020, the U.S. had conducted only approximately 7,000 tests.
“These conflicting messages are not only confusing, but dangerous,” writes Senator Markey in his letter to CDC Director Robert Redfield, Vice President Pence, and HHS Assistant Secretary Brett Giroir. “Defeating this outbreak requires us to have a testing-capacity plan and a supply chain that can meet demands. That begins with transparency for the American public on our actual testing capacity, using consistent metrics that allow for actual analysis. The CDC and the White House needs to bolster public confidence in the federal government’s ability to combat COVID-19.”
A copy of Senator Markey’s letters can be found HERE.