Top White House advisers predict as many as 240,000 US deaths from coronavirus - live updates

Tuesday - 31/03/2020 19:27
In recent days Trump has touted that the U.S. has conducted more tests than any other country, but he leaves out a key piece of context: While the U.S. has surpassed South Korea in terms of raw tests, it has administered far fewer tests per capita given that the U.S. is more than six times the size of South Korea.

Birx: States have half a million new Abbott tests, but they're not being utilized

About 500,000 coronavirus tests released this week by Abbott Laboratories are available and not being utilized by states, according to Dr. Deborah Birx, who's leading the White House coronavirus task force.

"It is disappointing to me right now that we have about 500,000 capacity of Abbott tests that are not being utilized. So they are out, they're in states, they're not being run and not utilized," Birx told reporters at a White House daily briefing Tuesday.

The new test, released by the Illinois-based company this week, can give positive results in as little as five minutes and negative results in about 13 minutes. Birx said the task force is working to create awareness that these tests are available as hospitals have become reliant on the platforms available to them for COVID-19 over the last month. 

Birx declined to provide any further details on whether hospitals are aware these tests are available to them or to which states they have been distributed. Her comments came after Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, contradicted President Donald Trump's claim that problems with coronavirus testing had been resolved. Hogan told NPR Tuesday that while the administration has taken some steps to create new tests, "they're not actually produced and distributed out to the states."

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