Democrats slam Trump for shortfall in coronavirus testing

Video credit: Reuters Studio
Published on March 8, 2020 - Duration: 02:24s

Democrats slam Trump for shortfall in coronavirus testing

U.S. Democratic Senator Chris Murphy on Sunday described the Trump administration's failure ramp up capacity to test for coronavirus cases as "unforgivable." This report produced by Zachary Goelman.


Democrats slam Trump for shortfall in coronavirus testing

The state of Connecticut on Sunday confirmed its first positive case of coronavirus in a resident, and U.S. Democratic Senator Chris Murphy told CBS News that one patient could be the tip of an iceberg.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. DEMOCRATIC SENATOR CHRIS MURPHY OF CONNECTICUT, SAYING: "I imagine we have hundreds if not thousands of cases in my state.

I think we have no concept of the scope of this epidemic yet, because we have not been able to test." Murphy was quick to blame the Trump administration for failing to fully prepare for the outbreak.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. DEMOCRATIC SENATOR CHRIS MURPHY OF CONNECTICUT, SAYING: "And what is unforgivable is that the administration didn't see this coming and didn't put the resources in early to make sure that everybody had these tests." The outbreak has killed more than 3,600 globally.

In the United States, 19 people have died out of about 450 reported cases of coronavirus.

And the government has been accused of bungling the initial response to the illness, in particular by not having enough tests ready to confirm potential cases.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) NEW YORK STATE GOVERNOR ANDREW CUOMO, SAYING: "On testing, we need more help from the federal government and the CDC." New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Sunday visited a laboratory he said was ready to start testings samples but had yet to receive permission from the Centers for Disease Control.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) NEW YORK STATE GOVERNOR ANDREW CUOMO, SAYING: "CDC has not authorized the use of this lab, which is just outrageous and ludicrous." The CDC was slow to permit some state laboratories to conduct their own coronavirus testing to make up for a shortfall in test kits.

The head of the infectious diseases unit at the National Institutes of Health on Sunday said that after initial missteps distributing tests, there should be 400,000 more tests available by Monday and 4 million by the end of the week.

That admission comes after Trump made this claim on Friday: (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING: "Anybody, right now, and yesterday, anybody that needs a test gets a test.

They're there.

They have the tests." (SOUNDBITE) (English) NEW YORK STATE GOVERNOR ANDREW CUOMO, SAYING: "President of the United States says, 'anyone who wants a test can have a test.'

Vice president of the United State says, 'we don't have the testing capacity.'

People say, 'how can you say both things?'

You can't say both things.

We don't have the testing capacity that we need." Donald Trump has tried to frame the federal response to the illness as a resounding success.

On Sunday, he tweeted, "We have a perfectly coordinated and fine tuned plan at the White House for our attack on CoronaVirus... The Fake News Media is doing everything possible to make us look bad.

Sad!"

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