Birx: US has done more testing in 8 days than South Korea in 8 weeks
The United States has now conducted more coronavirus tests in the past eight days than South Korea did in eight weeks, according to White House coronavirus task force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx.
“Probably by today we will have done more tests than South Korea did in eight weeks, in the last eight days,” Birx said during a Fox News town hall. “In the last eight days we’ve done more testing than South Korea.”
South Korea is seen as one of the countries with a gold standard of testing, so the statistic illustrates that the United States has been able to significantly ramp up testing in recent days.
The Trump administration took intense criticism for the extremely slow initial rollout of tests.
Private companies using “high throughput” machines that are able to process tests much quicker have now come online and significantly ramped up testing.
The American Enterprise Institute’s tracker estimated the U.S. will be able to do more than 100,000 tests per day by March 27.
Birx said South Korea has done about 290,000 tests, and the United States has now done over 300,000. She said the U.S. is now doing 50,000 to 70,000 tests per day.
Still, she cautioned that people without symptoms should not get tested, to prioritize tests for those who need them.
Another issue is that testing uses up protective equipment, which is in dangerously short supply in some places, for the health workers administering the tests.
Trump touted the statistic from Birx during the town hall. “I’d love you to say that one more time, because that’s a big number,” he said.