Trump defends US coronavirus testing, says it’s gone ‘really well’
President Trump defended coronavirus testing in the U.S. on Tuesday amid some criticism that the country has been slower with tests than other nations.
Trump told reporters after a meeting at the Capitol with GOP senators that the U.S. “has done a very good job on testing” when asked about the delays.
“We had to change things that were done that were nobody’s fault,” he said. “Perhaps they wanted to do something a different way, but it was a much slower process from a previous administration. And we did change them.
“But the testing has gone very well,” he continued. “And when people need a test, they can get a test. When the professionals need a test, when they need tests for people, they can get the test.”
Trump has repeatedly blamed Obama-era rules for slowing the pace of testing, but the only rule that has been changed is a Food and Drug Administration rule put into effect under the Trump administration that initially required the FDA to approve any test developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Trump’s comments come as lawmakers have criticized the CDC for its slow pace in testing. The Seattle nursing home at the center of the outbreak said Monday it does not have enough tests for its 65 employees that are showing symptoms.
The CDC announced that as of Monday it has tested almost 4,900 people.
Trump came to the Capitol Tuesday to discuss plans to manage the economic response to the virus with Republicans, as the stock market sinks.
The president also once again praised the U.S.’s efforts to restrict travel “early on” in the coronavirus scare.
“The biggest thing that we did was stopping the inflow of people early on,” Trump told reporters. “And that was weeks ahead of schedule, weeks ahead of what other people would have done.”
The administration put restrictions on travelers from China and other countries after the coronavirus outbreak hit.
Nonetheless, the U.S. has identified more than 800 cases of the virus, with 28 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Eight people have recovered.