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Trump admin sends 250K COVID-19 tests to 41 HBCUs: report

Trump admin sends 250K COVID-19 tests to 41 HBCUs: report
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A White House official said the administration has shipped more than 250,000 rapid coronavirus tests to historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

“We know they’ve been underserved historically, and we just want to support them,” Adm. Brett Giroir, who is serving as testing czar for the task force, told McClatchy in a story published Tuesday.

Officials told the publication that the first shipment included 250,000 rapid tests for 41 colleges and universities, including Howard University.

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“We think it’s very, very important to equip HBCUs,” Giroir told McClatchy. “It is a fact, except for a few very high-tech globally competitive universities that many of these are small, rural and do not have the kind of laboratory capacity that other universities do have.”

He noted the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on African Americans, who are five times more likely to be hospitalized due to the virus. HBCUs also have faculty who are older than average and therefore at greater risk for the virus.

White House officials said they expect to deliver another 300,000 tests to 65 more HBCUs not covered by the initial distribution by next week. The plan is to send each university enough kits to test all students, staff and faculty, as well as to test between 5 and 10 percent of students weekly. 

The supply is scheduled to last several weeks but will be replenished as often as is necessary, Giroir said.

“This first shipment should last them quite a period of time unless there’s a very unusual circumstance within that campus,” he added.

Giroir said in early September that the White House would also begin distributing the rapid tests to governors over the month after they received emergency Food and Drug Administration authorization.

The announcement came a week after the administration issued testing guidance stating asymptomatic people do not need to be tested, which Giroir said did not preclude testing asymptomatic people in locations such as schools at governors’ discretion.