Trump Plan Makes Federal Help Getting Tests 'a Last Resort'

New guidelines spell out responsibilities in coronavirus testing
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 27, 2020 7:20 PM CDT
States Should Think of Federal Supplies as 'a Last Resort': Trump
President Trump listens during a briefing Monday at the White House.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

President Trump presented guidelines Monday on where the federal government's responsibility begins and ends on getting enough coronavirus tests to the states. The administration should provide "strategic direction and technical assistance," including on expediting regulatory approvals, as well as encourage research and development, the Washington Post reports. But when it comes to supplies needed for testing, Trump said, the federal government will "act as a supplier of last resort." The policies were spelled out in a new set of documents that Trump presented in a press briefing late in the day that was canceled, then revived. Governors, as well as health experts, have urged the Trump administration to broaden testing, and to get more tests and supplies distributed to make that possible. But the president has maintained that testing is the states' responsibility.

The administration has announced three stages for reopening the economy but hasn't said how that can happen without greater testing. The new documents are an answer to that concern, per CNN. The guidance issued Monday is more specific, but it still leaves much of the work to the states. "Testing plans and rapid response programs will be federally supported, state managed, and locally executed," one document says. States should solve the issues hindering testing, the documents say, such as "misallocation of supplies" and "logistical failures." And private companies should "accelerate production of tests and materials." The goal is to get states ramped up to be able to test 2% of residents, a White House official said. Although Trump said Monday that the US is "lapping the world on testing," per capita rates lag behind those of other nations. (Testing needs to double soon, Fauci says.)

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