White House Defunds More Than A Dozen Coronavirus Testing Sites in 5 States
White House announced Wednesday they are defunding more than a dozen coronavirus testing sites in five states despite the new record high number of new confirmed cases.
White House followed through with President Donald Trump threats to slow down testing and confirmed on Wednesday it is defunding 13 drive-through testing sites in five of states: Texas, Illinois, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Colorado. On Tuesday, Texas reported a new record high of 5,489 new coronavirus cases. The four Houston sites that are documenting thousands of tests a day are to be defunded.
The move comes after Trump’s numerous comments about slowing down the testing, including his Tulsa rally speech last weekend: “Testing is a double edged sword,” Trump said. “Here’s the bad part. When you do testing…. you will find more cases. So I said to my people, ‘Slow the testing down, please.’”
In May, Trump also said, “So the media likes to say we have the most cases, but we do, by far, the most testing. If we did very little testing, we wouldn’t have the most cases. So in a way, by doing all of this testing, we make ourselves look bad.”
This week, as he was pressed by journalists to elaborate on whether he was serious about slowing down the tests, Trump said he did not “kid” and suggested America has done “too good a job” in testing.
The administration decision has sparked criticism among officials.
Republican Sen. Ted Cruz (D-Texas), is pushing back against the decision to pull funding of the Texan testing sites. His spokesman told NBC News that the senator “has urged and will continue to urge [health officials] to extend the community testing sites in Texas.”
Senator Chuck Schummer (D-New York) expressed his concern over the decision in his Twitter, writing:
“Let me get this straight: cases are spiking across the country,” Schumer wrote. “The admin has $14 billion for testing and tracing that they haven’t spent. But President Trump thinks the right move is to pull federal support for testing out of hotspot areas!?”
Let me get this straight:
Cases are spiking across the country.
The admin has $14 billion for testing and tracing that they haven’t spent.
But President Trump thinks the right move is to pull federal support for testing out of hotspot areas!?https://t.co/hMuR0bwUGA
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) June 24, 2020
The U.S. has had around 2.3m confirmed COVID-19 cases, according to Johns Hopkins university data. More than 121,000 Americans died due to coronavirus complications.