WH official: US will reach 'ballpark' capacity of diagnostic needs in May to open economy

 

One of Trump administration's top advisers on the coronavirus response said Saturday that by May, the U.S. should be in the "ballpark" of the diagnostic capacity needed for the economy to begin to reopen.

“By May we’ll have a lot more testing than we do now,” Admiral Brett Giroir told Bloomberg.

“By May, we certainly will be in the ballpark. Whether we are exactly there depends on some factors, including how much is circulating and where regionally this falls out. That is the correct answer, I can’t give you a yes or no.”

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A member of the White House coronavirus task force, Giroir, assistant secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services, was put in charge of overseeing and accelerating the country's virus testing capabilities last month.

Giroir explained that the government is working to make four types of diagnostic tests needed to reopen the economy safely: widespread surveillance, testing of specific symptoms, contact-tracing and anti-body testing. Giroir noted that the antibody testing is still weeks away.

According to the COVID-19 Tracking Project, the volume of testing in the U.S. has skyrocketed since Giroir assumed his responsibilities. On March 19, days after Giroir was initially appointed by President TrumpDonald TrumpJulian Castro knocks Biden administration over refugee policy Overnight Energy & Environment — League of Conservation Voters — Climate summit chief says US needs to 'show progress' on environment Five takeaways from Arizona's audit results MORE, only 100,000 people nationwide had been tested. Now, more than 2.2 million have been tested.

The U.S. is the epicenter of the pandemic, with more than half a million confirmed cases and nearly 20,000 deaths as of Saturday night, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.