Trump Exaggerates Plan For Google Website Meant To Fight Coronavirus
At a press conference on Friday, President Donald Trump exaggerated the creation of a website by Google engineers meant to help Americans combat the coronavirus.
An idea originally developed by Verily, which Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner is a co-founder of, consisted of a website that would allow Americans to evaluate their symptoms and lead them to various “drive through” testing locations.
However, Trump overstated the project, telling reporters that “Google has 1,700 engineers working on this right now,” and that “they’ve made tremendous progress.”
In reality, Verily only has about 1,000 employees. Although a program is planned to develop the website, it is not ready. Testing locations have not been identified yet, and there is a lack of coronavirus test available nationwide.
The announcement of the website comes as health experts are urging the administration to take harsher actions in containing the virus. With the White House’s delay in responses and failures to follow through with various promises, many are frustrated. Google officials immediately distanced themselves from the project, and a Verily spokesperson said the company was, “in the early stages of development.” The 1,700 employees Trump was referring to were actually Google employees who offered to volunteer to work on the project if needed.
A person close to the project at Verily told the New York Times that the company was planning to start on a website that would allow Americans in the San Francisco Bay area to locate three testing locations starting Monday.
Vice President Mike Pence said on Saturday that, “the objective here is to have a website up very quickly,” and added that the website would be used “in the areas that have been deeply impacted — Washington State, California, New York.”