At Friday’s White House coronavirus press briefing, Dr. Anthony Fauci announced there will be enough tests to take the country through Phase One of the White House recovery plan to reopen the economy.
But there are other ways we — I want to make sure people understand that — not to underestimate the importance of testing. Testing is a part, an important part, of a multifaceted way that we are going to control and ultimately end this outbreak.
So please don’t anyone interpret it that I’m downplaying testing, but the emphasis that we’ve been hearing is essentially, “testing is everything,” and it isn’t. It’s the kinds of things that we’ve been doing — the mitigation strategies — that are an important part of that.
Now, just a couple of things before I hand it over to my colleagues. No doubt — no doubt that, early on, we had a problem. I had publicly said that we had a problem early on. There was a problem that had to be corrected, and it was corrected. It was a problem that was a technical problem from within that was corrected. And it was an issue of embracing — the way we have now, and should have — the private sector, who clearly has the capability of making and providing tests at the level that we will need them for any of the things that I’ve just spoken about.
So, having said that, right now, I totally understand — and I am not alone; my colleagues understand — that although we say there are X number of tests out there — and you’re going to hear from Admiral Giroir about that — the fact is there have been and still are situations that are correctable, and will be corrected, and some of which have been corrected.
I know — I get on the phone a lot with my colleagues, because, believe it or not, some long time ago, I was where they are in the hospitals, in the emergency room, looking at very sick individuals that you need to take care of. And I know what it means when someone tells you, “Hey, you have what you need,” and you look around and you say, “Well, maybe you think I have what I need, but I don’t really have what I need.” So we have to figure out: How do we close that gap?
And there are a lot of things that I think we’ve learned, and that we are correcting and going to correct. Namely, you have a situation where tests are needed and appropriate. And either people have found there’s no tests or there’s no reagents or there’s no swabs — or a person needed a test and were told that there was a restriction; they couldn’t get a test. These are all the things that I’m telling — you already know because you’ve heard them. So right now — or there’s a delay of five to seven days. And what does that mean if you want to do — if you want to get somebody out of circulation?
We understand that that existed, but upon careful examination, what you are going to hear: that many of those have been already corrected and other of those will be corrected. Because what I think people don’t appreciate, through no fault of their own, is that there’s — that there are two issues: There’s supply and demand. And if you have a supply that can meet the demand, but the supply is not connected to the demand, then supply/demand falls apart.
What do I mean by that? I mean there is an existing capacity that we have that, for one reason or other, maybe has not been fully communicated as to the availability of that existing capacity. And you’re going to hear about that now. There’s production capacity that gets better and better and better. And that’s what we’re talking about, because for what we need now, we believe that, with better communications, we’ll be able to make that happen.
So I know there’s going to be a lot of questions about that. I didn’t want to go on too long, but let me just finish by saying, given what I’ve just said and what I believe what you’re going to hear, that, for what we need in the first phase — if these things are done correctly, what I believe they can — we will have and there will be enough tests to allow us to take this country safely through phase one.