Donald Trump’s wrong claim that ‘anybody’ can get tested for coronavirus

Donald Trump’s wrong claim that ‘anybody’ can get tested for coronavirus

To show that his administration has been fast and effective in its response to the new coronavirus, President Donald Trump claimed that anybody who wants to get tested for the respiratory disease caused by the virus can do so. "Anybody that wants a test can get a test. That's what the bottom line is," Trump told reporters March 6 during a visit to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. Moments later, Trump added that anybody that needs a test gets one. "But as of right now and yesterday, anybody that needs a test — that's the important thing — and the tests are all perfect, like the letter was perfect. The transcription was perfect, right? This was not as perfect as that, but pretty good," Trump said. (Trump's mention of "the letter" and "transcription" was a reference to his recent impeachment .) As large public gatherings around the United States are being cancelled and some colleges are suspending in-person classes to avoid the spread of the disease, PolitiFact decided to fact-check Trump on his "bottom line" assessment that anybody who wants a test will get one. He's wrong. Current supply of the test is limited, and it is clinicians who decide whether a patient meets criteria to warrant testing. Testing is not as easy as just calling your doctor or pharmacy, saying you want to be tested for COVID-19 and getting it done. "Unfortunately, it's not that simple yet," said Christopher Mores, a professor of global health at George Washington University. There is greater availability of tests, but the number of labs involved in the testing process is still limited, Mores said. Testing is expected to increase as more commercial labs participate, but even they have limits in the number of patients that can be tested daily, Mores said. PolitiFact found news reports of people who wanted to get tested and couldn't, or of hindrances in the testing process. Here's a sample: CBS Miami reported March 2 that a woman who had returned from Italy was told at a hospital that she likely had COVID-19 but was refused a test. The woman, not named by CBS Miami, said one of the reasons she wasn't tested for the new coronavirus was because she was not in a high-risk category, since she was in her 30s and otherwise healthy. (She tested positive for earlier coronavirus strains, coronavirus 229E and NL63, according to CBS Miami.) The hospital and state health department did not comment on the case. Texas Tribune reported March 11 that Texas' largest public health lab can do a maximum of 26 tests per day. Doctors and hospitals did not yet have capability to do tests on their own premises. (An NPR report indicates this issue is not limited to Texas.) The Mercury News reported that the president of the California Academy of Family Physicians said no one had been trained to do the test. (The story published March 7 and was updated March 10.) CDC: Health care providers decide who gets tested for COVID-19 The CDC on its website said that if people come in close contact of someone with the respiratory disease and they develop symptoms, they should call their health care provider. Related Stories



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