Google says coronavirus tool in 'early stages' of development after Trump announcement

Google said Friday evening that a tool from life sciences division Verily to determine if a test for the coronavirus is warranted is in its “early stages,” despite President TrumpDonald John TrumpHR McMaster says president's policy to withdraw troops from Afghanistan is 'unwise' Cast of 'Parks and Rec' reunite for virtual town hall to address Wisconsin voters Biden says Trump should step down over coronavirus response MORE's announcement that the application is nearly completed.

“We are developing a tool to help triage individuals for Covid-19 testing. Verily is in the early stages of development, and planning to roll testing out in the Bay Area, with the hope of expanding more broadly over time,” Google Communications said in a statement posted to its public affairs Twitter account.

“We appreciate the support of government officials and industry partners and thank the Google engineers who have volunteered to be part of this effort,” the statement continued. 

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The statement contradicted an announcement Trump made at the White House on Friday afternoon detailing various measures the administration is taking to combat the coronavirus.

“I want to thank Google. Google is helping to develop a website that’s going to be very quickly done, unlike websites of the past, to determine whether a test is warranted and to facilitate testing at a nearby convenient location,” the president told reporters, adding that Google has “1,700 engineers working on this right now.”

When asked for clarification, a White House official told The Hill that the administration is indeed working with Google to craft a tool to determine if a test is needed and a nearby location to get one.

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“We expect to have more details in the days ahead,” the official said. 

The conflicting remarks come as the White House scrambles to curb the rapid spread of the coronavirus, which has so far killed more than 40 people in the U.S.

Trump declared a national emergency on Friday, which freed up billions of dollars to help fight the pandemic.

The administration is also negotiating a stimulus package deal with Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiMcConnell focuses on confirming judicial nominees with COVID-19 talks stalled Overnight Defense: Top admiral says 'no condition' where US should conduct nuclear test 'at this time' | Intelligence chief says Congress will get some in-person election security briefings Pelosi must go — the House is in dire need of new leadership MORE (D-Calif.) to help blunt the economic impacts of the virus.