As Trump Pushes States to Reopen, Watchdog Launches Effort to Expose Covid-19 Testing Debacle
WhereAreTheTests.com Tracks the Trump Administration’s Failure to Deliver on Promise of Widely Accessible COVID-19 Tests
New Documents Show States Struggling to Obtain Critical Testing Supplies from Trump Administration Despite Its Rhetoric
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Reopening The Economy Without Widespread Testing Is Unsafe
WASHINGTON, D.C. – As states begin to reopen at President Trump’s urging despite the CDC predicting 3,000 daily deaths by June and experts warning that it is unsafe to reopen without widespread testing, government watchdog Accountable.US is launching WhereAreTheTests.com — a website dedicated to exposing the Trump administration’s failed record on COVID-19 testing. The resource will also highlight the concerns of public health experts and encourage the American people to demand answers from the White House to the simple question: “Where are the tests?”
As part of the website launch, Accountable.US has released new internal emails from its 50 States Open Records Project showing states struggling to obtain critical testing supplies from the Trump administration.
New Mexico was unable to obtain the testing supplies it needed after the Trump administration sent testing kits in “insufficient quantities," was unable to provide necessary chemicals, and totally ran out of extraction kits. Meanwhile, FEMA and HHS refused to offer Idaho assistance in obtaining reagents for testing by non-public health labs. Documents show the administration even failed to include New York City as a city it was “focused” on helping — even as NYC emerged as a hotspot for the virus and hospitalizations reached record heights.
Mismanagement By Trump Administration
“Almost exactly two months ago, President Trump told Americans that they could have a COVID-19 test if they wanted one. But even as Trump pushes states to reopen, millions of people across the country can’t get one,” said Accountable.US President Kyle Herrig. “The Trump administration has mismanaged the single most important element of the response to this public health crisis. Public health officials agree: without widespread testing, there is no way states can reopen safely. We intend to expose this administration’s unfulfilled promise and the detrimental impact this lack of available testing is having across the county.”
The documents from New Mexico, Idaho, and New York follow similar findings from Oregon. After getting only four of the 5,000 test kits it requested, Oregon’s health department tried to follow up with the federal government — only to be told five days later that the ability to acquire more test kits is “very difficult and competitive...” The Oregon Health Authority also received an email from HHS’ Preparedness and Response Office regarding COVID-19 testing supplies, stating, “we are now stealing from Peter to pay Paul…. and this is not sustainable.”
What Comes Next with Covid-19 Testing
Public health experts have made it clear that without widespread community-based testing, there is no way to safely reopen the economy. But almost exactly two months after President Trump claimed that “anybody who wants a test, can get a test,” the Trump administration is still lagging behind in getting states the supplies they need to test people.
WhereAreTheTests.com documents the administration’s months-long failure to address testing for the coronavirus pandemic with even a modicum of urgency, which has resulted in testing sites expanding far too slowly, backlogged tests in numerous states and a lack of available tests in others, and abounding logistical nightmares. It also includes numerous instances where patients and health care workers who exhibited symptoms but did not meet the government’s strict criteria for testing were denied tests. Why? Because there simply aren’t enough tests and testing supplies available.
Accountable.US is a nonpartisan watchdog group that exposes corruption across all levels of government.