Fauci: Testing System Is Failing; Azar: 'Has Not Worked As Well As We Would Like'

By Susan Jones | March 13, 2020 | 6:29am EDT
President Donald Trump speaks about the COVID-19 alongside members of the Coronavirus Task Force at the White House in Washington, DC, March 9, 2020. (Photo by Olivier DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)
President Donald Trump speaks about the COVID-19 alongside members of the Coronavirus Task Force at the White House in Washington, DC, March 9, 2020. (Photo by Olivier DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)

(CNSNews.com) - Criticism about the slow rollout of coronavirus testing grows louder and more urgent every day.

The testing still is way short of meeting demand from worried Americans. CDC has tested only 11,000 people so far, reports say, so there is no way of knowing how many Americans actually have the virus, where it might be clustered, or what the mortality/recovery rate really is.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Disease, said on Thursday, "The (testing) system is not really geared to what we need right now, what you are asking for. That is a failing. Let’s admit it,” he said.

“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 are not."

On Thursday night, Fox News's Sean Hannity asked Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar if the testing logjam is easing -- and why those tests weren't available more quickly.



Azar told Hannity the situation "is getting better and better every day," but it's still not good enough.

"So the CDC invented a test within two weeks of China posting the genetic sequence, and we've developed the test, and it's been available, and we've had actually capacity at all times to do testing for people that needed to be tested, but it has not worked as well as we would like," Azar told Hannity.


"We have four-and-a-half million tests out there. There are a surplus of tests out there, but the connection from the patient-doctor hospital to those lab tests and the labs has not been as seamless as we'd like."

Reports say the test kits -- swabs and such -- are out there, but the reagents or chemicals needed to detect the virus are not available.

Hannity asked Azar when the tests will be available to anybody who wants one any place, any time?

"It's getting better and better every day," Azar said. "We're getting the private sector involved, and that's going to make it a more seamless experience. We're already seeing in Washington, Colorado, and Minnesota and now in new Rochelle, New York, drive-through sampling so that you can get sampled, the test will get sent away, and you'll get those results.

"So we're making it a more seamless experience each and every day."

But it's a matter of days if not weeks, to get test results back from CDC and state labs. And testing is being done mostly on people who meet certain criteria (travel/symptoms).



 

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