Yesterday, President Trump announced a massive and groundbreaking expansion of our national COVID – 19 testing capability and that last week the United States conducted over 100 million tests, far more than any other country. He noted that we have conducted at least 50 million more tests than India with a population of well over a billion, as well as more tests than the entire European Union and Latin America combined.
The President announced his plan to distribute 150 million of the Abbott Laboratories new rapid point-of-care test kits in the coming weeks — more than double the number of tests already performed. This new test kit, called Abbott Binax and demonstrated at the event, are simple to use with very light nasal swaps and return results within a maximum 15 minutes. No machine is required to process the swap, which is just inserted in a small thin packet.
The President outlined his test kit distribution plan, as follows:
- 50 million tests will go to protect the most vulnerable communities, including 18 million for nursing homes,15 million for assisted living facilities, 10 million for home, health, and hospice care agencies;
- Nearly 1 million for historically black colleges and universities, and tribal nation colleges; and
- 100 million rapid point-of-care tests will be given to states and territories to support efforts to reopen their economies and schools immediately and fast as they can.
When presented to the nation’s governors earlier in the day, the governors hailed this development as a “real game changer” for ease of diagnosis and one that genuinely provides a rapid testing process that will get our kids back in school. In this connection, Vice President Pence noted that while this testing will no doubt increase the numbers, we are now better and fully prepared to effectively treat those in need of medical attention – that we can now “… make sure that any community, any state that’s impacted with rising cases, any school that’s impacted will have the PPE, will have the supplies, will have the medicines.”