Miriam Valverde, PolitiFact
To present that his administration has been quick and efficient in its response to the brand new coronavirus, President Donald Trump claimed that anyone who desires to get examined for the respiratory illness attributable to the virus can accomplish that.
“Anybody that wants a test can get a test. That’s what the bottom line is,” Trump told reporters March 6 throughout a go to to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.
Moments later, Trump added that anyone who wants a take a look at will get one.
“But as of right now and yesterday, anybody that needs a test — that’s the important thing — and the tests are all perfect, like the letter was perfect. The transcription was perfect, right? This was not as perfect as that, but pretty good,” Trump stated. (Trump’s point out of “the letter” and “transcription” was a reference to his recent impeachment.)
As giant public gatherings across the United States are being canceled and a few faculties are suspending in-person courses to keep away from the unfold of the illness, PolitiFact determined to fact-check Trump on his “bottom line” evaluation that anyone who desires a take a look at will get one.
He’s flawed. Current provide of the take a look at is proscribed, and clinicians are those who resolve whether or not a affected person meets standards to warrant testing. Testing will not be as straightforward as simply calling your physician or pharmacy, saying you need to be examined for COVID-19 and getting it performed.
“Unfortunately, it’s not that simple yet,” stated Christopher Mores, a professor of world well being at George Washington University.
There is larger availability of exams, however the variety of labs concerned within the testing course of remains to be restricted, Mores stated. Testing is predicted to extend as extra industrial labs take part, however even they’ve limits within the variety of sufferers who could be examined every day, Mores stated.
PolitiFact discovered information reviews of people that needed to get examined and couldn’t, or of hindrances within the testing course of. Here’s a pattern:
CBS Miami reported March 2 that a lady who had returned from Italy was advised at a hospital that she seemingly had COVID-19 however was refused a take a look at. The lady, not named by CBS Miami, stated one of many causes she wasn’t examined for the brand new coronavirus was as a result of she was not in a high-risk class, since she was in her 30s and in any other case wholesome. (She examined constructive for earlier coronavirus strains, coronavirus 229E and NL63, in line with CBS Miami.) The hospital and state well being division didn’t touch upon the case. Texas Tribune reported March 11 that Texas’ largest public well being lab can do a most of 26 exams per day. Doctors and hospitals didn’t but have the potential to do exams on their very own premises. (An NPR report indicates this difficulty will not be restricted to Texas.) The Mercury News reported that the president of the California Academy of Family Physicians stated nobody had been skilled to do the take a look at. (The story revealed March 7 and was up to date March 10.)
CDC: Health Care Providers Decide Who Gets Tested For COVID-19
The CDC on its web site said that if individuals are available in shut contact with somebody who has the respiratory illness they usually develop signs, they need to name their well being care supplier.
“They will decide whether you need to be tested, but keep in mind that there is no treatment for COVID-19, and people who are mildly ill are able to isolate at home,” the federal well being company stated.
Elsewhere on its web site, the CDC said, “Clinicians should use their judgment to determine if a patient has signs and symptoms compatible with COVID-19 and whether the patient should be tested.”
Factors to think about for testing include whether or not people have been in shut contact with a confirmed or suspected COVID-19 affected person inside 14 days of signs, or in the event that they traveled from affected geographic areas inside 14 days of symptom onset.
Clinicians who need to take a look at a affected person ought to work with native and state well being departments to coordinate testing via public well being labs, CDC stated. That course of might be delayed if the labs are operating at capability.
Limited Number Of Tests
The CDC is often the primary one to develop a diagnostic take a look at as a result of they’ve entry earlier than others to medical specimens and viral samples. The CDC take a look at then turns into the idea for exams developed by others. But there have been manufacturing issues with the CDC take a look at at first.
Trump administration officers have supplied conflicting data concerning how many individuals could be examined. Stephen Hahn, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, acknowledged the confusion on March 7.
Hahn said that manufacturing points have been ultimately resolved by a third-party producer. That producer is producing exams for state public well being labs, educational medical facilities, group hospitals and different nonpublic well being labs.
The CDC has shipped exams to public well being laboratories to check about 75,000 individuals, Hahn stated. Additionally, 1.1 million exams have been shipped to nonpublic well being labs, and round 1 million extra exams have been near being shipped, he stated.
But the variety of exams shipped doesn’t equal the variety of individuals that may be examined. For occasion, 2.1 million exams would roughly translate to testing for 850,000 Americans, in line with Hahn.
Manufacturers plan to scale up manufacturing to allow them to ship four million extra exams by mid-March, Hahn stated, and enormous industrial and educational labs are additionally anticipated to make extra exams.
Trump stated, “Anybody that wants a test can get a test.”
This is flawed. Health care suppliers make the decision on who will get examined, primarily based on suggestions from the CDC. There’s a rise within the variety of exams being manufactured, however a rise within the availability of exams doesn’t imply that “anybody that wants a test can get a test.”
Trump’s assertion is inaccurate and a gross oversimplification of the info. We price it Pants on Fire.
Kaiser Health News (KHN) is a nationwide well being coverage information service. It is an editorially impartial program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation which isn’t affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.