WA Sen. Murray: White House approach to virus testing ‘plagued by unrealized goals’

May 12, 2020, 11:19 AM

Top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci cautioned Congress Tuesday over the perils of reopening states too early, while Washington Sen. Patty Murray pointed to a series of “broken promises” from the federal government regarding increased testing necessary to relaxing social distancing measures.

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

“For months, this administration’s approach to testing has been plagued by unrealized goals and disregard for systemic problems within that supply chain,” Sen. Murray said in a Tuesday hearing in the U.S. Senate Health, Labor and Pensions Committee. “Last week, an average of just 250,000 tests per day were performed in the United States, a small fraction of what we need.”

“President Trump has been more focused on fighting against the truth than fighting this virus, and Americans have sadly paid the price,” she added.

Experts — including Dr. Fauci — have repeatedly touted the need for robust testing and contact tracing systems for any state or local community to safely reopen. On Monday, President Trump praised the testing system currently in place in the United States, claiming the nation has “prevailed” in its bid to expand its infrastructure.

That’s something many health officials and lawmakers have called into question, including GOP Sen. Mitt Romney.

“I find our testing record nothing to celebrate whatsoever,” Romney said in Tuesday’s Senate committee hearing.

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

Speaking to what states will need in order to safely relaxing social distancing measures, Dr. Fauci warned that the consequences of reopening without proper measures in place could be dire.

“The consequences could be really serious,” Fauci noted. “What I’ve expressed is my concern that some areas jump over various checkpoints and prematurely open up without having the capability of being able to respond effectively and efficiently.”

He went on to point out that areas reopening too soon could see a resurgence in new coronavirus cases.

“My concern is that we might start to see little spikes that will turn into outbreaks,” Fauci cautioned.

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WA Sen. Murray: White House approach to virus testing ‘plagued by unrealized goals’