Healthcare

Fauci says positive White House task force reports don’t always match what he hears on the ground

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The positive messaging from the White House coronavirus task force doesn’t always match the reality on the ground, Anthony Fauci says in a new interview with ABC News.

In the interview, which is set to air Tuesday, Fauci says he doesn’t have a “good answer” as to why the U.S. is still struggling with distributing personal protective equipment or why diagnostic test results are taking so long to turn around.

“We keep hearing when we go to these task force meetings that these [issues] are being corrected,” Fauci said. “But yet when you go into the trenches, you still hear about that.”

A dramatic slowdown in testing turnaround times is undermining the U.S. response to COVID-19 even as cases spike in multiple states.

Health workers, public health experts and even former top administration official Mick Mulvaney have decried the lengthy turnaround for testing results.

White House testing czar Brett Giroir said on CNN on Sunday that the average turnaround time for tests performed in large commercial labs is about 4.27 days. 

Quest Diagnostics, one of the country’s largest commercial labs, said results can take two days for “priority one” patients and more than a week for others.

A seven-day wait for test results magnifies the risk that an infected person has already spread COVID-19, making it too late to effectively implement contact tracing and essentially rendering the test useless.

However, point-of-care tests or in-hospital tests can be turned around in minutes or hours.

In the ABC interview, Fauci says some of the initial problems the country faced with the medical supply chain were due to reliance on materials that were not made in the U.S. 

He also admitted that supply chain problems were exacerbated by early mistakes by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

According to ABC, Fauci says the CDC’s initial testing kits “didn’t work” because they were contaminated, forcing the country to rely even more on private testing companies.

Tags ABC News Anthony Fauci Coronavirus Mick Mulvaney Quest Diagnostics White House coronavirus task force

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