Only 8,554 Americans Have Been Tested for Coronavirus, CDC Reports

It seems far fewer coronavirus tests have been administered than has been reported by federal authorities.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed on Tuesday that, thus far, only 8,554 Americans have been tested for coronavirus. This is a strikingly low number that stands in stark contrast to the previously announced number by federal authorities, who estimated 75,000 tests would be administered by the end of last week.

On Mar. 3, during what has become a daily White House press conference to address public concerns surrounding the coronavirus outbreak, a top immunologist at the CDC said that 75,000 tests would be performed by health laboratories by the end of the week.

The next day, on Mar. 4, Vice President Mike Pence said: "We do have about 1.5 million test kits going out as we speak to hospitals." In the same press conference, however, Pence also said that the number of test kits to be shipped would be 2,500 last week.

And then, on Mar. 5, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar claimed that 400,000 tests could be performed by the end of last week. He also said that by the end of this current week, the United States would have the ability to test 1.7 million citizens, which is why the low numbers reported by the CDC are so shocking.

In a press release updated on Mar. 10, the CDC reported the total number of tests performed both by the CDC and U.S. public health labs is just over 8,500, a number that is remarkably minuscule compared to what some may have seen as politically expedient promises.

The CDC also released a chart that shows how the majority of coronavirus testing has moved from the CDC to public health labs:

Coronavirus Task Force Chief Anthony Fauci, MD, gave a dire warning to Congress Wednesday, Mar. 11, about the coronavirus outbreak in the United States. As he appeared before the House Oversight and Reform Committee, Fauci said: "We will see more cases and things will get worse than they are right now. How much worse they'll get will depend on our ability to do two things: To contain the influx of people who are infected coming from the outside, and the ability to contain and mitigate within our own country. Bottom line: It's going to get worse."

Then, Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney of New York asked: "If we don't test people, then we don't know how many have been infected. Is that correct?"

"That is correct," Fauci replied. "Two aspects of testing: One, a person comes to a physician and asks for a test because they have symptoms or a circumstance which suggests they may be infected. The other way to do testing is to do surveillance. You go out into the community and not wait for someone to come in and ask for a test, but you actively—proactively—get a test. We are pushing for that. … The CDC has already started that in the six sentinel cities and will expand that in many more cities. You're absolutely correct. We need to know how many people, to the best of our ability, are infected."

At the same congressional hearing, CDC Director Robert Redfield, MD, reiterated that the CDC has "put out 75,000 [tests]." "We're working hard to get testing available," he said. "My role is to get it available for the public health system. … On the other side, there's a private sector to get it to clinical medicine. And I think you will see that with Lab Corp and Lab Quest out, those tests are rolling out."

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