Remarks by President Trump in an Update on the Nation's Coronavirus Testing Strategy | Beaufort County Now | Last week, we crossed a historic milestone when the United States conducted our 100 millionth test. | President Donald J. Trump, dnlds wht hs, America's CDC labs, GE Healthcare, Ford, and General Motors, Coronavirus Task Force

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Remarks by President Trump in an Update on the Nation's Coronavirus Testing Strategy

    But all along the way, from our very first meeting, you made it clear that we'd spare no expense of the federal government - the full resources of the federal government you made available to put the health of America first.

    But you also challenged us and you challenged American industry to bring the full power and innovation of the American economy to bear on this moment. And whether it be PPE, where we forged a partnership to see to the delivery and the manufacture of hundreds of millions of personal protective equipment; whether it be how we started with 15,000 ventilators in the Strategic National Stockpile - and today, in partnership with GE Healthcare, Ford, and General Motors, we have over 150,000 ventilators in the Strategic National Stockpile; whether it be the extraordinary progress on therapeutics - remdesivir, convalescent plasma - that are literally saving lives; or whether it be, as you reflected, Mr. President, on our steady progress toward achieving a safe and effective vaccine before the end of this year, it's been that public-private partnership that you've led that's made these advances possible.

    And on testing, the American people really deserve to know that when we began, as you said, Mr. President, it was literally a standing start. We didn't have information on the coding of the coronavirus until mid-February. But America's CDC labs and public health labs did their level best, and by the end of February, we'd done less than 10,000 coronavirus tests.

    But as you just announced a few moments ago, last week, we cleared 100 million tests all across the country. It's extraordinary we have the capacity to do 3 million tests a day. It's a testament to American innovation and the leadership that you've provided.

    Also, Mr. President, we've delivered, to nearly 14,000 nursing homes in America, point-of-care tests already that are making it possible for us to really keep focus on the most vulnerable. As you know, only 8 percent of those who have contracted the coronavirus are in nursing homes, but 40 percent of those that have lost their life have been in nursing homes. And so we've surged those resources and surged them to vulnerable populations.

    But with the announcement today of this Abbott Laboratories' BinaxNOW test, we began a process first announcing 50 million tests to go to our vulnerable communities, to go to minority communities, to Indian Health Services. But as we told all the nation's governors today, we begin the process this week of distributing 100 million tests to each state and territory in the country free of charge, so they can begin to deploy those tests to - on the priorities that the state set.

    But, Mr. President, given the extraordinary capacity that we have in testing today, we expressed a hope to all the governors today that they would particularly use these Abbott Binax tests to open up America's schools and to keep them open. And we heard about the enthusiasm of governors from - on both sides of the aisle about what this test will mean and in helping to process - helping to process the testing that will get our kids into school and keep our kids in school.

    And, Mr. President, let me just close by saying this is a - we've passed through a challenging time in the life of this nation in 2020, and our hearts - and I know your heart - is with all the families that have suffered loss.

    But as you said, cases are declining, hospitalizations have been declining - declining dramatically, particularly in the Sun Belt. In Louisiana, where, not long ago, 50 parishes had more than 10 percent positivity rate, now only 3 parishes are testing positive over 10 percent. Arizona was testing 20 percent positivity rate; now it's less than 4 percent consistently.

    But with cases and positivity rising in 10 states in the Midwest and the near west; and with this historic advance in testing that's being distributed - 150 strong around the country; Mr. President, the American people should anticipate that - that cases will rise in the days ahead.

    But as we - as we more readily identify those who've contracted the coronavirus, the American people can be confident, because of this extraordinary and historic public and pri- - private-partnership that you've forged, because of this whole-of-government approach, we're ready, as we proved through the outbreak in the Sun Belt this summer. And we'll make sure that any community, any state that's impacted with rising cases, any school that's impacted will have the PPE, will have the supplies, will have the medicines.

    And as you said, Mr. President, we will continue, at your direction, our relentless drive toward achieving the first safe and effective vaccine so we can achieve the day that we once and for all put this coronavirus in the past.

    So, Mr. President, with thanks to our industry partners, thanks to this team, but thanks to you for your strong leadership, I hope for that day. And the American people can be confident we will not rest, we will not relent until we put this coronavirus in the past.

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    THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much, Mike.

    Scott Atlas, would you say a few words, please, as to how we're doing and where you see us going? Please.

    DR. ATLAS: Okay, thank you, Mr. President. And I also want to echo the congratulations to the team, the task force - Admiral Giroir, in particular, who's worked very hard on the testing.

    This is a remarkable day because we have state-of-the art testing. This is not the typical point-of-care test, even; this is new. This is - does not require any kind of machine. It's very rapid. And this is not one of those deep swab things that people are reluctant to use. So I think we're - we're really making an advance here to do what testing is supposed to do, and that's to save lives.

    As the Vice President mentioned, we know that there are areas of the country that have more cases. This is to be expected with more social mingling. And the testing - but particularly protecting the vulnerable, is the key here. We have not seen hospital overcrowding. We're doubling down now with testing to protect vulnerable people not just inside nursing homes, but in residential settings and senior daycare centers.

    This is a remarkable advance. And I anticipate that as - as this virus - as we get toward the end of this pandemic - and the vaccine is being developed as quickly as it has been - America will be in a different position. And there really should be - as I've said many times, the fear is not the issue here. We really have a handle on what's going on. We know what to anticipate, and there's remarkable advances being made as we see today.

    Thank you very much.

    THE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you very much. Tremendous progress is being made. And I say, and I'll say it all the time: We're rounding the corner. And, very importantly, vaccines are coming, but we're rounding the corner regardless. But vaccines are coming, and they're coming fast. We have four great companies already, and it's going to be added to very rapidly. They're in final stages of testing. And from what we're hearing, the results are going to be very extraordinary.

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    So thank you very much. I appreciate it. And thank you very much. Great job by Abbott. Right from the beginning, great job Abbott.

    Thank you. Thank you very much, everybody. Thank you. (Applause.)

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