President Donald Trump on Monday announced a plan to ship 150 million rapid point-of-care coronavirus tests to high-risk communities in the United States.
“In a short period of time, my administration has built the most advanced testing system in the world,” Trump said, noting that 243 different tests for the virus exist today.
The rapid tests developed by Abbott Laboratories deliver results within 15 minutes, without having to send it to a lab for processing.
“We’re down to something, that you’ll see, is really from a different planet,” Trump said.
The president asked Adm. Brett P. Giroir, the Assistant Secretary for Health at the Department of Health and Human Services, to demonstrate the test at a press conference he had in the Rose Garden at the White House.
“Good luck,” Trump joked. “I hope you don’t test positive.”
Giroir said that the administration had already shipped 65,000 of the tests to disaster operations in California, Oregon, Texas, and Louisiana as well as 2.1 million of the rapid-tests to nursing homes.
“Today we start the shipment of 100 million tests to governors with a total of 6.5 million tests this week,” Giroir said.
The president said he would send 50 million tests to protect the most vulnerable population in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and home hospice care.
He also said he would send 100 million tests to help states reopen their schools, including tests for HBCU and tribal universities.
The president said that he would continue to use the tests to protect the more vulnerable elderly communities but allow younger and healthier Americans to go back to work.
“It’s important to remember that as younger and healthier people return to work and as we massively increase testing capacity, we will identify more cases and asymptomatic individuals in low-risk populations,” he said. “This should not cause undue alarm. The total number of cases is not the full metric of success.”