The country’s top health officials offered a bleak assessment of the nation’s coronavirus testing capabilities.
“It is a failing,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said of the lack of easy access to testing for the virus.
During a House Oversight Committee hearing with the country’s top health officials, Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-Fla.) asked whether the health system was set up to ensure Americans can get easily tested.
“The system is not really geared to what we need right now, what you are asking for,” Fauci said, adding, “That is a failing. It is a failing. Let’s admit it.”
“The fact is the way the system was set up, is that the public health component — that Dr. Redfield was talking about — was a system where you put it out there in the public, and a physician asks for it, and you get it. The idea of anybody getting it easily, the way people in other countries are doing it, we’re not set up for that. Do I think we should be? Yes, but we’re not.”
Watch the video below:
.@RepDWStweets: "Basically you're saying… there's not one person that can ensure that these tests can be administered? Yes or no?"— CSPAN (@cspan) March 12, 2020
Dr. Anthony Fauci: "The system does is not really geared to what we need right now… that is a failing… It is a failing, let's admit it." pic.twitter.com/CynnLP93in
Fauci’s comments come as the lack of easy access to testing for the coronavirus has been roundly criticized.
After a briefing with health officials on Thursday, Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) told CNN, “We are not where we need to be and not sure when we are going to get there” in regards to testing.
“We are flying blind,” he added.
As Health and Human Service Secretary Alex Azar explained, “You may not get a test unless a doctor or public health official prescribes a test.”
The ability for Americans to get tested has been blasted by some who noted that South Korea had tested more than 200,000 people so far, while the United States lags far behind in the number of people that have been tested for the virus.
Meanwhile, Dr. Robert Redfield — the head of the Centers for Disease Control — told Politico that labs that test for coronavirus are seeing a shortage of materials — which could, in turn, delay the results of tests and lead to the further delay of an accurate count of coronavirus cases.