Meadows defends US COVID-19 testing amid criticism

Meadows defends US COVID-19 testing amid criticism
© Bonnie Cash

White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsOvernight Health Care: Senate leaves until September without coronavirus relief deal | US records deadliest day of summer | Georgia governor drops lawsuit over Atlanta's mask mandate Senate leaves until September without coronavirus relief deal Pelosi: COVID talks will resume when GOP offers T MORE defended the U.S.’s COVID-19 testing on Sunday amid criticism over delayed results.

Meadows stood by the federal government’s testing program after ABC’s “This Week” host George StephanopoulosGeorge Robert StephanopoulosSchumer declines to say whether Trump executive orders are legal: They don't 'do the job' Meadows defends US COVID-19 testing amid criticism Meadows says White House is 'hopeful' it can announce new coronavirus therapies 'in the coming days' MORE asked what the White House’s plan was to fix testing.

In response, Meadows said the country is testing more than 1 million people every day and that additional quick testing at nursing homes, long-term care facilities, schools, health care providers and child care providers “may help.” 

“But when we look at the regime that we’ve got, we're testing more than any other country in the world,” he said. “Other countries, all they do is test when you come to the hospital.”

“We're finding more cases because we're testing more, but, indeed, what we need to do is make sure that we focus on those nursing homes, long-term care, so that we can bring that death count down because those are the ones that are most at risk,” Meadows added. 

The U.S. has surpassed more than 4.1 million coronavirus cases nationally, and cases have been growing rapidly this month in a number of states that quickly reopened their economies in the spring as President TrumpDonald John TrumpUSPS warns Pennsylvania mail-in ballots may not be delivered in time to be counted Michael Cohen book accuses Trump of corruption, fraud Trump requests mail-in ballot for Florida congressional primary MORE urged them to do so. 

Trump has repeatedly argued that the rising numbers are linked to the number of tests the U.S. performs. But while there is some link between increased testing and more COVID-19 cases, positivity rates — the number of tests that are positive — also strongly suggest the disease is spreading through communities.

The boost in cases has also led to the U.S.’s testing system being strained. Critics of the administration say people must wait days to days to receive their test results.

The administration has continued to focus testing on nursing homes and long-term care facilities with older populations that are more likely to experience serious illness or death from the virus. But health experts have said in recent weeks that younger populations are responsible for the rising cases.

Last week, the administration said it recommended against universities requiring all students to take COVID-19 tests before returning to campus despite also pushing for all schools to return to classrooms this fall. Instead, it suggested surveillance testing, where a random percentage of students will be tested.