The Health and Human Services Department does not know how many people in the United States have been tested for coronavirus, as many test centers do not report to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, HHS Secretary Alex Azar said Tuesday.
"We don't know exactly how many, because hundreds of thousands of our tests have gone out to private labs and hospitals that currently do not report in," Azar said on CNN's "New Day." "We're working with the CDC and those partners to get an IT reporting system up and running, hopefully, this week, where we would be able to get that data."
There are currently 2.1 million testing kits available, said Azar, and more than 1 million have been shipped.
Meanwhile, communities are starting to cancel large-scale events, such as in Boston, where this weekend's St. Patrick's Day parade has been canceled, and Azar said local officials should be making such decisions "based on science and evidence."
The government will be issuing guidelines for other communities regarding steps that should be taken, including shutting down large events, said Azar, but there is not a one-size-fits-all approach, and it's important "not to overreact."
Azar added that he will not second-guess the decision of any employer, school, school, or other entity takes, but he still believes "we need to be very measured in our approaches."
He also said he won't comment on political campaigns, such as President Donald Trump's, which is expected to announce plans later today for a large rally.
He wouldn't answer specifically whether he would advise older people against attending a campaign rally, he said he would "encourage any individual who is medically fragile to avoid large gatherings. Don't shake hands."
But, he noted, "We need to go on with our lives."
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