Feds to Distribute 150M Rapid Coronavirus Tests

Trump announces plans in push to reopen schools
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 29, 2020 12:01 AM CDT
Feds to Distribute 150M Rapid Coronavirus Tests
Medical staff holds swabs for rapid COVID-19 tests at a high school in Rome, Monday, Sept. 28, 2020.   (Cecilia Fabiano/LaPresse via AP)

President Trump on Monday announced that the federal government will be distributing 150 million rapid coronavirus tests to states over the next few weeks. The Trump administration is pushing the use of the point-of-care tests, which deliver results within 15 minutes, in K-12 settings so more schools can return to in-person learning, Axios reports. The move will "allow every state on a very regular basis [to] test every teacher who needs it," Trump said, per CNN. Axios notes students, too, could be tested weekly. Trump said 100 million tests "will be given to states and territories to support efforts to reopen their economies and schools immediately and [as] fast as they can," while the rest will go to vulnerable communities including nursing homes. Axios notes these types of tests are not as accurate as PCR swab tests, for which results take days.

"Governors have the flexibility to use these tests as they deem fit, but we strongly encourage governors to utilize them in settings that are uniquely in need of rapid low-tech point of care tests, like opening and keeping open our K-12 schools, supporting critical infrastructure and first responders, responding to outbreaks specifically in certain demographics or locations, and screening or surveillance in congregate settings," said the White House's coronavirus testing czar. The move is a reversal from Trump's earlier railing against testing, a point he addressed Monday. "As we massively increase testing capacity, we will identify more cases in asymptomatic individuals in low-risk populations. This should not cause undue alarm," he said. "The total number of cases is not the full metric of success. Hospitalization capacity and mortality rates are far more instructive metrics. As we do more tests, you're going to have, automatically, more cases." (More coronavirus stories.)

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