President Donald Trump avoided taking responsibility over the lack of available coronavirus testing, and instead accused former President Barack Obama of mishandling the swine flu outbreak which started in 2009.

“I don’t take responsibility at all,” Trump said Friday, blaming a “set of circumstances” and “rules, regulations and specifications from a different time.”

Independent researchers estimate that the U.S. has completed about 20,000 coronavirus tests as of Friday. South Korea, which has been largely successful in containing the outbreak, has tested an estimated 250,000 people. Plus, South Korea has a population nearly six times smaller than the U.S. (51 million compared to 327 million).



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“Our response is much, much worse than almost any other country that’s been affected,” the director of Harvard’s Global Health Institute, Ashish Jha told NPR last week. “Without testing, you have no idea how extensive the infection is. You can’t isolate people. You can’t do anything.”

Trump claimed that the health system was not equipped to respond to a pandemic of this skill and argued that his administration is reshaping and improving the system, “leaving a very indelible print in the future in case something like this happens again.”

“That’s not the fault of anybody — and frankly the old system worked very well for smaller numbers, much smaller numbers but not for these kind of numbers,” he added.

He then said Obama “didn’t do testing like this” during the swine flue, or H1N1, pandemic that affected over 60 million people between April 2009 and 2010. He said the Obama administration “didn’t do testing” and that when “they started thinking about testing,” it was “far too late.”

However, the novel coronavirus has proven significantly more fatal than H1N1 with a mortality rate hovering around 3%, compared to H1N1’s .02%.

The president also deflected blame for dissolving the Directorate for Global Health Security and Biodefense, which had been part of the National Security Council.

“I didn’t do it,” Trump said, adding “I don’t know anything about it. You say we did that. I don’t know anything about it.”

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