RICHMOND, VA — On March 21st, the Trump administration promised to deliver 27 million testing kits by the end of March. Now, in late April, analysts estimate that only 4 million Americans have been tested. Without a national strategy for widespread coronavirus testing, states are unable to keep up with demand on their own.
Instead of taking desperately needed action, Trump has tried to shift blame on state governments while falsely insisting that there is “tremendous capacity” for testing. In reality, testing has plateaued well below goals for daily testing due to supply shortages and a lack of coordination. In its latest testing failure, the administration has tried pivoting to antibody tests, many of which have not been vetted by the FDA and are often inaccurate.
Here in Virginia, Governor Ralph Northam has made it clear that the fight for PPE and adequate testing continues, calling claims by the Trump administration that tests are widely available “delusional” and “irresponsible.” “We don’t even have enough swabs, believe it or not, and we’re ramping that up,” Gov. Northam said on CNN over the weekend.
Meanwhile, the Commonwealth has only received a fraction of the PPE requested from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, putting Virginia hospitals in danger of exhausting supplies. “We don't have the money to buy the equipment and tests that we need. It was my understanding that each time we thought we were going to get tests, we then found out we couldn't get them,” said Medical Director of Health Brigade Dr. Wendy Klein. “This is not just Virginia, there are many, many states competing for not enough tests.”
“Trump's chaotic, failed coronavirus response is putting Virginians in danger. No matter how much he tries to downplay this crisis or shift blame on others, he can't spin this horrific reality. We need tests, we need equipment, and we need them now,” said DPVA Press Secretary Carson Brown.