Testing Chief: 'No Way on Earth' US Can Hit 5M Target

Trump indicated that daily number will be reached 'very soon'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 29, 2020 2:00 PM CDT
Testing Chief: 'No Way on Earth' US Can Hit 5M Target
Adm. Brett Giroir, assistant secretary of Health and Human Services, speaks about the coronavirus in the Rose Garden of the White House, Monday, April 27, 2020, in Washington.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

When the official in charge of the government's coronavirus testing was asked about a report that to reopen the economy, the US would need to test 5 million people a day by early June and 20 million a day by late July, his response was unambiguous. "There is absolutely no way on Earth, on this planet or any other planet, that we can do 20 million tests a day, or even five million tests a day," Admiral Brett Giroir, assistant secretary for health at the Department of Health and Human Services, told Time. He called the Harvard University "Roadmap to Pandemic Resilience" an "Ivory Tower, unreasonable benchmark" and said the US is on course to test 8 million people in May. So far, around 5.5 million Americans have been tested.

President Trump, however, told reporters who asked about the 5 million figure later Tuesday that the US would be there "very soon," CNBC reports. "We’ll increase it, and it'll increase it by much more than that in the very near future," he said. White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany later released a statement saying the US has "done double the number of tests of any country in the world." When asked about the Giroir interview, the White House replied with the same statement. On Wednesday, Trump noted that he "never said" 5 million. "Somebody came out with a study of 5 million people. Do I think we will? I think we will, but I never said it." (Read more coronavirus stories.)

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