The other day, the White House announced that the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is ramping up collaboration with local officials to greatly expand testing for the Wuhan coronavirus (CoVid-19). But the administration’s bizarre promise to deliver “close to one million” new tests by the end of the week didn’t exactly pan out mathematically, seeing as how laboratory testing capacity is currently limited to about 10,000 tests per day.
Vice President Mike Pence, who was recently appointed by President Donald Trump to head up the new Coronavirus Task Force, joined Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) head Dr. Stephen Hahn in announcing at a press conference that all is well and everyone who wants to be can get tested for the Wuhan coronavirus (CoVid-19), even though this isn’t actually feasible at the current time.
“Under ideal conditions, the nation’s public health labs could run up to 10,000 tests per day by the end of the week, according to figures provided by the [Association] of Public Health Laboratories,” reports Zero Hedge, highlighting the disparity between what the Trump administration is saying and what lab officials are saying behind its back.
While Dr. Hahn is trying to assure the American public that there will be “a substantial increase” in testing capacity in the coming days, former FDA head Scott Gottlieb recently piped up, saying that the only thing increasing are the number of Wuhan coronavirus (CoVid-19) not being reported by government agencies.
Gottlieb described the administration’s current approach as “catching up” to reality, adding that it’s going to take some time to shift from a prevention strategy to a containment strategy. The New York Times added that this “shift” is taking longer than the administration is willing to admit.
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In truth, the maximum number of tests that could have possibly been procured within the timeframe promised by the Trump administration was 77,500, meaning it would come up 922,500 tests short of the goal, a serious shortfall with associated risks that Trump himself was reportedly unwilling to acknowledge during a phone call.
Even the 77,500 figure may have been overshot, as the Times reported that officials were only able to add a mere 337 new CDC testing kits by the time Wednesday arrived. Each of these tests covers about 350 people, meaning less than 118,000 additional Americans could theoretically get tested for the Wuhan coronavirus (CoVid-19), assuming these few tests have made it into the appropriate hands.
VP Pence remains hopeful that private manufacturers will soon step in to help fill the gap, but this could take some time. HHS says that public health labs can currently test about 15,000 people, with a maximum of 75,000 by the end of the timeframe indicated by the Trump administration, which still falls short of the goal.
“Without the tests, it will take longer for public health officials to figure out how widespread the virus truly is, giving the market a false impression that containment efforts have been a success,” adds Zero Hedge.
“The only problem is that containing a virus isn’t like negotiating a trade deal. While a certain amount of bluster is acceptable, at a certain point, you actually need to fix the problem.”
Though the World Health Organization (WHO) refuses to admit it, the Wuhan coronavirus (CoVid-19) has become a global pandemic. At this time, only about half of the labs that can run coronavirus testing are doing so, according to reports.
For more related news about the Wuhan coronavirus (CoVid-19), be sure to check out Pandemic.news.
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