Fauci Testifies Coronavirus Testing System “Not Really Geared to What We Need Right Now”

Mar 12, 2020
Press Release
Warns Congress: “It is a failing. Let’s admit it.”

National Nurses Union Contradicts CDC Director Testimony on Testing Denials

CDC Director Cannot Name Any Administration Official in Charge of Testing

Washington, D.C. (Mar. 12, 2020)—At a hearing on coronavirus reconvened today by the Committee on Oversight and Reform, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, testified that the current system for testing coronavirus is failing.

He stated:  “The system does not, is not really geared to what we need right now, to what you are asking for.  That is a failing.”

He continued:  “It is a failing.  Let’s admit it.  The fact is the way the system was set up is that the public health component that Dr. Redfield was talking about was a system where you put it out there in the public, and a physician asks for it, and you get it.  The idea of anybody getting it easily the way people in other countries are doing it, we are not set up for that.  Do I think we should be?  Yes.  But we are not.” 

During the hearing, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz asked Fauci and CDC Director Robert Redfield about a nurse in California who was quarantined after treating a patient with coronavirus and showing symptoms of the disease herself.  She could not get tested even though her local public health department recommended one.  She stated:

“The public county officer called me and verified my symptoms and agreed with testing.  But the National CDC would not initiate testing.  They said they would not test me because if I were wearing the recommended protective equipment, then I wouldn’t have the coronavirus.”

When Redfield was asked about this yesterday, he said “this is a misunderstanding if it did occur.”

Today, Rep. Wasserman Schultz released a statement submitted to the Committee from the National Nurses United (NNU) directly contradicting his testimony:

“In recent weeks, our union has been made aware of multiple circumstances in which health care workers have been exposed to COVID-19 infection and have not received COVID-19 tests despite requests for testing. … There have been far too many cases where exposed health care workers have been refused testing for this to be considered a ‘misunderstanding.’  Further, members of our union across the country have reported countless cases in which testing has been refused to patients when clinicians have recommended it.”

When Rep. Wasserman Schultz asked who in the Trump Administration is in charge of making sure that as many people as possible across this country have access to testing—especially healthcare workers—Redfield failed to identify anyone.

Click here to see the video exchange with Fauci and Redfield.

Click here to read the letter from the National Nurses Union.


116th Congress