White House says most tests have been done

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WASHINGTON – The Trump administration unveiled a new strategy on Monday to help states increase their ability to test for the coronavirus, saying most of its work is done, according to new documents.

The two documents obtained by NBC News include an “overview” of the tests and a “blueprint” for the tests.

“We are deploying all the powers and might of the federal government to help states, cities and local governments overcome this scourge,” Trump said when the plan was officially announced at a press conference in Rose Garden. Monday afternoon. .

The first document, the Overview of Tests, is largely used to defend the treatment that has been widely criticized by the administration of coronavirus tests since the start of the epidemic. He describes eight responsibilities which he says belong to the federal government and claims to have already fulfilled seven.

The other document, a test “blueprint”, describes what he calls a “partnership” between states, the federal government and the private sector. The partnership he describes leaves the lion’s share of the responsibility for funding, designing and implementing a coronavirus test plan in different states.

But states have repeatedly called on the federal government to assume most of the responsibility for testing and tracing future coronavirus infections, arguing that they lack federal funding and expertise.

Trump is also expected to announce on Monday that the federal government is ready to send enough tests and test materials to the 50 states to screen at least 2% of each state’s population per month. The Wall Street Journal first reported on new federal testing efforts.

Before going to the Rose Garden, Trump told reporters in a briefing at the Oval Office that the plan was to expand testing, particularly in the African American and Hispanic communities.

The ability to repeatedly and widely test at-risk populations is the cornerstone of any plan responsible for reopening the national economy. The president has called on states to lift home orders and reopen, but most governors still believe it is too early.

Trump critics have addressed national shortages of effective coronavirus tests, test supplies and laboratories capable of treating test results as a central failure of the federal government’s response to the deadly pandemic.

Trump, however, angrily rejected this criticism. “The states, not the federal government, should do the tests,” he said in a tweet last week.

Monday’s new documents highlight the limited role Trump wants the federal government to play in expanding testing, despite repeated references to “partnering” with states.

With several states officially starting to reopen this week, the persistent lack of testing capabilities is one of the main factors preventing many families, employers and institutions from resuming operations as usual, even though home care orders have been officially lifted.

Health experts warn that the virus is likely to persist through fall and winter, when the flu season begins normally.

Testing 2% of people in each state each month would be a leap forward – about 1.6% of the US population has been tested so far, according to the Covid Tracking Project.

Still, some experts say that America needs to run more than 20 to 30 million tests a day to start bringing the economy back to normal.

There are more confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the United States than in any other country: more than 972,900 infections and at least 55,118 deaths have been confirmed, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

The epidemic, which began about four months ago near the city of Wuhan in China’s Hubei province, has prompted American states to impose strict social distancing policies to slow the spread of the disease. These rules – shutting down non-essential businesses and ordering residents to stay at home – have led to a devastating economic rout.

These are the latest news. Please check back for updates.

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