Trump shows off new rapid coronavirus test kit in Rose Garden, as HHS says 1 million Americans tested
The White House holds a coronavirus task force briefing.
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President Trump announced on Monday that the United States has tested over 1 million people for the coronavirus as he unveiled a new rapid test kit for the contagion that is supposed to give results within five minutes.
Speaking from the White House’s Rose Garden, Trump said that reaching 1 million tests is “a milestone in our war against the coronavirus.”
Trump’s announcement on the new rapid test kit comes just days after Abbott Laboratories announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had given them emergency clearance to produce its cartridge-based test. The company says that its test delivers a negative result in 13 minutes when the virus is not detected.
The U.S. has been trying for weeks to ramp up coronavirus testing after a series of problems with the initial government-designed test. The nation’s daily testing capacity has been increasing as more diagnostic makers and large laboratories have developed tests.
Abbott’s testing cartridge fits into the company’s portable ID NOW device, which is used at hospitals, clinics and doctors’ offices. The company said it would launch the test next week to select health care facilities that deliver urgent care.
The Abbott approval follows two other rapid tests cleared by regulators in the past week. Older laboratory-developed tests can take between 4 to 8 hours to deliver results.
Health experts say the U.S. should be testing 100,000 to 150,000 people per day to track and contain the virus. There are no official nationwide testing metrics, but private and public health labs currently report testing about 80,000 to 90,000 patients per day.
The U.S. currently leads the world in the number of infections, with more than 143,000 confirmed cases being reported by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University. More than 73,000 of the confirmed cases are centered in New York and New Jersey.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an urgent appeal for medical volunteers Monday amid a “staggering” number of deaths from the coronavirus, as he and health officials warned that the crisis unfolding in New York City is just a preview of what other communities across the U.S. could soon face.
“Please come help us in New York now,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said as the state's death toll climbed by more than 250 in a single day for a total of more than 1,200 victims, most of them in the city. He said an additional 1 million health care workers are needed to tackle the crisis.
“We've lost over 1,000 New Yorkers," Cuomo said. "To me, we're beyond staggering already. We've reached staggering.”
Trump said on Monday that the emergency 2,900-bed hospital in New York City’s Javits Center.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the U.S. government's top infectious-disease expert, warned that smaller cities are likely about to see cases “take off” the way they have in New York City.
Trump’s press briefing on Monday comes a day after he extended the federal guidelines on social distancing until April 30. He had earlier predicted that the country could open up around Easter, which happens on April 12, but sided with public health experts to extend the guidelines.
Trump reiterated the need to practice socially distancing on Monday as experts warned that the peak number deaths from the virus is likely to occur sometime next month.
"By very vigorously socially distancing, we can save more than one million American lives,” he said. “The sacrifices we make will determine the fate of this virus and the fate of our victory.”