The Trump administration is facing widespread criticism for its handling of the coronavirus outbreak. On Thursday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the U.S. is failing when it comes to testing for the virus.
Dr. Anthony Fauci: “The system does not — is not really geared to what we need right now, what you are asking for. That is a failing.”
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz: “A failing, yes.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci: “It is a failing, let’s admit it. … The idea of anybody getting it easily, the way people in other countries are doing it, we’re not set up for that. Do I think we should be? Yes. But we’re not.”
The BBC reports nearly 20,000 people are being tested for coronavirus every day in South Korea — far more than the 11,000 tests done in the United States since the outbreak began. On Capitol Hill, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she is close to reaching a deal with the White House on a coronavirus aid package that includes funding for temporary paid sick leave and free virus testing. On Thursday, Democratic Congressmember Katie Porter of California grilled CDC Director Robert Redfield on the affordability of coronavirus testing.
Rep. Katie Porter: “Dr. Redfield, do you want to know who has the coronavirus and who doesn’t?”
Dr. Robert Redfield: “Yes.”
Rep. Katie Porter: “Not just rich people, but everybody who might have the virus?”
Dr. Robert Redfield: “All of America.”
Rep. Katie Porter: “Will you commit to the CDC right now using that existing authority to pay for diagnostic testing free to every American regardless of insurance?”
Dr. Robert Redfield: “Well, I can say that we’re going to do everything to make sure everybody can get the care they need.”
Rep. Katie Porter: “No, not good enough. Reclaiming my time. Dr. Redfield, you have the existing authority. Will you commit, right now, to using the authority that you have, vested in you, under law, that provides in a public health emergency for testing, treatment, exam, isolation without cost, yes or no?”
Dr. Robert Redfield: “What I’m going to say is I’m going to review it in detail with” —
Rep. Katie Porter: “No.”