WA Senators: US ‘not meeting responsibility’ for coronavirus testing

Apr 14, 2020, 12:19 PM
Impeachment, Cantwell and Murray, coronavirus testing, tara reade, joe biden...
Washington Senators Maria Cantwell (left) and Patty Murray (right). (AP)

Washington Senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray issued a letter Monday, pressing Vice President Mike Pence on the federal plan for ramping up coronavirus testing in the days ahead.

Expert: US coronavirus testing ‘nowhere near what it needs to be’

In the letter, Sen. Cantwell and Sen. Murray urged Vice President Pence to develop a “national, real-time, public-facing inventory of COVID-19 diagnostic tests and results.”

“Currently, the federal government is not meeting its responsibility to coordinate testing capacity among states and Indian Tribes and is failing to release crucial information to the public,” the letter reads. “We urge you to provide public transparency and leadership without delay.”

Cantwell and Murray’s proposal asks the Trump Administration to provide a laundry list of answers to pressing questions, including the amount of coronavirus tests available on a daily basis, where those tests are being sent, the daily capacity of labs, details on wait times for turning around results, and more.

“The decentralized system of tracking tests and the corresponding lack of transparency into when and where these tests are being sent makes it challenging for our nation as a whole to systemically plan its public health response to the COVID-19 outbreak,” the letter continues.

UW modelers working to figure out when country can reopen

Health experts have pointed to a vastly expanded system of testing, tracing, and isolating patients as an absolute necessity for beginning to relax social distancing measures in the U.S.

“I see #TestTraceIsolate as the only real solution to the problem we’re facing,” Fred Hutchinson scientist Trevor Bedford said Monday.

This comes as testing continues to lag in the U.S. Just 2 million people have been tested for the virus across the United States, totaling less than 1% of the country’s population. Because of those deficiencies, some researchers believe we’ve only been able to confirm as few one in every 20 total infections. That would put the actual number of coronavirus cases in the United States near 10 million, instead of the almost 600,000 cases we’ve been able to confirm so far.

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WA Senators: US ‘not meeting responsibility’ for coronavirus testing