Announcing the deployment plan Monday afternoon in the White House’s Rose Garden, Trump said the testing effort “would allow every state to regularly test every teacher who needs it.”
“I am pleased to announce that we are announcing our plan to distribute 150 million Abbott test points of care in the coming weeks,” Trump said Monday at the Rose Garden.
Of course, many schools across the country have already been open for weeks without full access to testing, despite the Trump administration’s continued push to reopen schools and businesses despite the ongoing pandemic.
Trump appeared to be taking a different approach to testing in the Rose Garden on Monday, saying that an increase in coronavirus testing efforts and, therefore, an increase in expected asymptomatic coronavirus cases among those in low-risk populations “should not cause undue alarm.” .
“As we massively increase testing capacity, we will identify more cases in asymptomatic individuals in low-risk populations. This should not cause undue alarm,” Trump said. “The total number of cases is not the complete metric of success. Hospital capacity and mortality rates are much more informative metrics. As we do more tests, you will automatically have more cases.”
About 100 million tests, the president said, “will be given to states and territories to support efforts to reopen their economies and schools immediately and (as) quickly as possible.”
And 50 million tests will go “to protect the most vulnerable communities,” including nursing homes, assisted living facilities, hospice services, historically black colleges, and tribal nation colleges.
Admiral Brett Giroir, the Trump administration’s coronavirus testing czar, said the federal deployment plan will grant governors flexibility on how to implement the tests, but offered some prioritization guidelines, which included the ‘implementation of coronavirus screening.
“Governors have the flexibility to use these tests as they see fit, but we strongly encourage governors to use them in settings that only need low-tech rapid point-of-care testing, such as opening and keeping our K-12 schools open, supporting critical infrastructure and first responders, responding to outbreaks particularly in certain demographics or locations, and screening or surveillance in congregated settings, ”Giroir said.
Ali Zaslav, Betsy Klein, Curt Devine, and CNN’s Drew Griffin contributed to this report.