Schumer: Administration has been 'derelict' on coronavirus testing

Schumer: Administration has been 'derelict' on coronavirus testing
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Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerSenate Democrats introduce legislation to probe politicization of pandemic response Schumer interrupted during live briefing by heckler: 'Stop lying to the people' Jacobin editor: Primarying Schumer would force him to fight Trump's SCOTUS nominee MORE (D-N.Y.) said on Tuesday that Democrats will be sending a letter to the administration urging White House officials to ramp up coronavirus testing. 

"The president will invoke the Defense Production Act [DPA] for meat plants, but not for testing. I would say to President TrumpDonald John TrumpOmar fires back at Trump over rally remarks: 'This is my country' Pelosi: Trump hurrying to fill SCOTUS seat so he can repeal ObamaCare Trump mocks Biden appearance, mask use ahead of first debate MORE directly, until you get a handle on testing, this crisis will continue to go on and on," Schumer told MSNBC's "Morning Joe."  

"Testing is the key and they are so derelict in testing, it has created many more cases and many more deaths than we could have had if we would have done it right," Schumer added.  

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Schumer said that more than 40 Senate Democrats had signed a letter to the administration saying the United States has to do "much, much better on testing." The letter, according to Schumer, will also double down on their request for Trump to put a "military czar" in charge of medical supply production and distribution.  

"I haven't heard of one good reason, and I've talked to the president directly about this, why they haven't invoked the DPA. The testing regime is still willy-nilly, scattershot," Schumer said.

Spokespeople for Schumer didn't immediately respond to a question about the letter. 

Trump and administration officials have defended the United States's pace of testing, even as public health experts and lawmakers, including some Republicans, have warned that the country is still lagging behind months into the coronavirus outbreak. 

Widespread testing is considered a key requirement to safely reopen the country.

The United States has conducted a total of 7,285,178 coronavirus tests, according to the COVID Tracking Project. The most tests conducted in a single day was 314,854 on April 22. 

The White House last month released a testing strategy “blueprint,” largely placing the onus on states to "develop testing plans and rapid response programs." The White House said that it should act as a "supplier of last resort." 

Adm. Brett Giroir, an assistant secretary of Health and Human Services, said earlier this week that he expects the U.S. to have the capacity to conduct 2 million tests per week by the end of May.