In late April, Vice President Mike Pence said that the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) would be deploying its staff to all American states to assist with coronavirus testing, which now reportedly stands at about 200,000 people per day.
Dr Anne Schuchat, the No. 2 official at the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has suggested that the increase in the country’s COVID-19 cases in late February was, in particular, caused by limited testing and delayed travel alerts for areas outside China.
She argued that “taking action earlier could have delayed further amplification [of the US outbreak], or delayed the speed of it”.
REUTERS / MARCO BELLOA homeless woman reacts next to a worker collecting samples during a Miami-Dade County testing operation for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in downtown Miami, Florida, U.S., April 16, 2020
The remarks followed the CDC earlier on Friday publishing an article, which was penned by Schuchat and which focused on the public health response to the initiation and spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in the US between 24 February and 21 April.
In this vein, the AP separately quoted Jason Schwartz, assistant professor of health policy at the Yale School of Public Health, as saying that “the degree to which CDC’s public presence has been so diminished […] is one of the most striking and frankly puzzling aspects of the federal government’s response”.
Bill Gates Describes US’ COVID-19 Testing Data as ‘Bogus’
Schuchat’s interview comes as Microsoft co-founder and billionaire Bill Gates told CNN on Friday that US coronavirus testing data are “bogus” because of its inaccuracy and slow turnaround.
The remarks were preceded by President Donald Trump asserting in late April that the US is “going maximum” when it comes to the COVID-19 testing.
“There are some people that don’t want to do that much testing, but we’re […] going to the outer limits and I think the way that’s probably it should be”, POTUS told a news briefing.
Pence Pledges to Expand COVID-19 Testing Capacity
Trump’s comments came after US Vice President Mike Pence said that the US has “enough testing capacity for every state in America to go to Phase 1”, during which “all vulnerable individuals should continue to shelter in place”, in line with Trump’s guidelines to “open up America again”.
Earlier, Harvard University experts suggested that in a bid to completely “remobilise the economy”, the US will have to test at least 20 million people per day by mid-summer, in contrast to the current daily COVID-19 testing capacity, which amounts to 200,000 people.
The US now tops the list of nations most affected by the coronavirus, with at least 1,062,446 confirmed cases and more than 62,000 fatalities, according to the CDC’s updates released on 1 May.