President Trump announced a plan to deploy 150 million rapid coronavirus tests from Abbott to states across the nation to help with school reopening efforts.
Trump claims the testing effort would “allow every state on a very regular basis test every teacher who needs it."
“I’m pleased to report we’re announcing our plan to distribute 150 million Abbott point of care tests in the coming weeks,” Trump said in the Rose Garden Monday.
Trump outlined that 100 million of the tests will be sent to states and territories, 50 million tests will go to protect the most vulnerable communities, 18 million will go to nursing homes, 10 million to hospice and home health, and one million for historically black colleges and tribal nation colleges.
The White House announced Aug. 27 that the federal government would purchase the tests but offered few details on rollout in the following days.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar provided some details on the ramp-up during a call with the nation’s governors on Aug. 31.
“There’s a ramp-up right now. We certainly expect that by late October, November, we’ll be getting into the 30-40 million per month and it will top at 48 million per month,” he said, according to audio obtained by CNN, adding that factories in Maine and Illinois are “just getting up” but “will achieve a mass of about 48 million (tests) within the next several months.”
And Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said on CNBC Sept. 14 that the tests would go to schools and nursing homes.
Adm. Brett Giroir, the administration’s coronavirus testing czar, said Monday that governors will have flexibility regarding deployment of the Abbott BinaxNOW tests, but offered some prioritization guidance.
“Governors have the flexibility to use these tests as they deem fit, but we strongly encourage governors to utilize them in settings that are uniquely in need of rapid low-tech point of care tests, like opening and keeping open our K-12 schools, supporting critical infrastructure and first responders, responding to outbreaks specifically in certain demographics or locations, and screening or surveillance in congregate settings,” he said in the White House Rose Garden after taking one of the tests himself.
Giroir said that this was communicated to governors during a Monday call led by Vice President Mike Pence.
Minutes later, Trump criticized some governors for not reopening their states quickly enough.
“We have too many states that are locked down right now… nobody knows what the governors are doing actually,” Trump said.
His remarks come as cases are rising over the last week in 21 states.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story included the wrong number of rapid tests that will be deployed to states. The Trump administration plans to deploy 150 million rapid coronavirus tests.