Fox's Boothe: WH looking into random coronavirus test sampling of U.S. population

Fox's Boothe: WH looking into random coronavirus test sampling of U.S. population
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Fox News contributor Lisa Boothe reported Sunday night that the White House is considering random sampling of the general U.S. population to monitor the spread of the virus while gathering more data around overall mortality rates.

"I reached out to the White House about it and they said it is something they were going to look to do in the next 15 days," Boothe said on "The Next Revolution" on Sunday night.

"I talked to Dr. John Ioannidis of Stanford. He is an epidemiology professor there," she continued. "He said this something that really needs to get done as soon as possible. And the reason why is this will provide us an accurate baseline to know what percentage of the population is infected and actually what the true mortality rate is. And this gives us a better baseline from which public officials can operate from to make decisions like when to reopen the economy, when to send people back to work."

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A White House official later confirmed Boothe's reporting to The Hill.

Ioannidis, who serves as chair in disease prevention at Stanford University, stated recently the data being collected on the number of people infected is "utterly unreliable" with a majority of infection "being missed."

"The data collected so far on how many people are infected and how the epidemic is evolving are utterly unreliable. Given the limited testing to date, some deaths and probably the vast majority of infections due to SARS-CoV-2 are being missed," Ioannidis wrote in a March 17 op-ed. "We don’t know if we are failing to capture infections by a factor of three or 300.”

Ioanndis has also argued that because of the unreliable data, steps taken to contain the virus may end up causing more harm because of the shutting down of the U.S. economy. 

Trump on Sunday announced he was extending social distancing guidelines through the end of the month, reversing his earlier hope of beginning to open up the country on Easter Sunday. 

Public health officials, including those working on the White House coronavirus task force, had urged Trump to extend the guidelines.

“Nothing would be worse than declaring victory before the victory is won,” Trump said in the Rose Garden on Sunday. “That would be the greatest loss of all.”

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On Friday, the FDA approved Emergency Use Authorization for Abbott Laboratories to start delivering 50,000 coronavirus tests per day starting Monday.

Abbott said the tests will provide results in about 15 minutes, with the company stating it expects to produce approximately 5 million tests per month.

The Abbott announcement comes one week after the FDA approved a 45-minute rapid point-of-care test.