White House introduces COVID-19 testing blueprint

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The White House released what they are calling a blueprint for increasing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) testing on Monday in a press briefing with President Donald Trump and members of the administration’s COVID-19 task force.

Deborah Birx, MD, and Brett Giroir, MD, assistant secretary for health in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), explained the testing overview, which is broken down into three stages and eight parts.

The first stage, launch, which consists of five parts, includes building the foundation for diagnostic testing, mobilizing the private sector to develop tests, issuing emergency use authorization for tests, galvanizing commercial and research laboratories and professional associations to ramp up testing capacity, and facilitating state efforts to access and use all available testing capacity, according to the slides presented during the briefing.

In stage 2, which consist of two parts, the administration said it will scale efforts by identifying and expanding public and private sector testing infrastructure and strengthening testing supply chain. In stage 3, supporting opening again, the administration will coordinate with governors to support testing plans and rapid response programs.

The blueprint immediately drew criticism, including U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), who released statement saying the document “does nothing new and will accomplish nothing new,” noting, “it doesn’t set specific, numeric goals, offer a timeframe, identify ways to fix our broken supply chain, or offer any details whatsoever on expanding lab capacity or activating needed manufacturing capacity.”

Earlier this month, the White House also released guidelines for opening stages and regions.

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