President Donald Trump rejected negative reporting on private labs reducing their weekly testing totals, saying the decline in lab testing is a "great" story of quicker point-of-care testing taking hold nationwide.
Trump said commercial laboratories are examining 25% less tests, from 100,000 per week to approximately 75,000 tests over the last week.
"The reason it dropped is because we have so many other tests, and we don't even have to go through the laboratories, but the laboratories have tremendous additional capacity, and states feel free to use that capacity," Trump said at the coronavirus task force daily briefing Thursday.
"Some of the media falsely reported this as a bad thing, when, in fact, it's a great thing. It indicates that the states are moving to faster, more local testing solutions, including on the spot tests.
"This drop in the utilization of commercial laboratories as affirmation that testing, which is at an all-time high, is growing at a historic rate. In other words, the laboratories are great but now we have forms of testing that are much quicker, much better, and we don't have to use the laboratories, but they are there, and they have great capacity to do the work."
The point-of-care tests are the Abbott Laboratories' ID Now device approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and distributed across the country to COVID-19 hot spots by the White House task force.
More than 600,000 ID Now Abbott tests are now distributed, Trump said.
Vice President Mike Pence added an estimated 5 million coronavirus tests will have been conducted in the U.S. by the end of the 30 days to slow the spread on April 30.
"In recent days we've seen a dramatic increase in the number of tests performed by hospitals and academic institutions with more than 120,000 tests recently reported in a single day, far more than any country in the world has ever been able to do," Trump said, trumpeting U.S. testing capacity as his task force outlined guidelines for states to reopen their economies.
"Our numbers are actually going up. As these new and better testing solutions come online, we are seeing this additional capacity reflected in the numbers."
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