Oversight Hearing Finds Trump Administration Far Behind on Testing for Coronavirus

Mar 11, 2020
Press Release
After Missteps, Top Health Agency Officials Confirm Administration in Mitigation Phase

Washington, D.C. (Mar. 11, 2020)—Today, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, the Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, held a hearing with top health officials at agencies responsible for addressing the novel coronavirus outbreak.  

Today’s hearing confirmed that strategic errors and a failure of leadership impaired our nation’s ability to respond to this outbreak, and the Trump Administration’s testing for coronavirus has been severely inadequate, plagued by missteps, and resulted in substantial deficiencies in our ability to determine who may be infected.

As a result, the United States is not leading the world, but instead is falling far behind other nations.  For example, Director Redfield previously testified that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have tested about 4,900 people.  By comparison, South Korea tested more than 66,000 people within just one week of its first case of community transmission.

South Korea has now tested more than 196,000 people, and they can test 15,000 people a day.

At the hearing, health officials testified about the severity of the coronavirus and contradicted many statements from the White House regarding how the Trump Administration is containing the outbreak:

  • Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases,  testified that Americans should expect “more cases and things will get worse than they are right now.”  He also said the “bottom line is it’s going to get worse.”
  • Dr. Fauci testified the coronavirus is “10 times more lethal than the seasonal flu,” contradicting statements from President Trump.
  • Dr. Fauci testified that “even in areas of the country where there are no or few cases, we’ve got to change our behavior,” such as restricting large gatherings and sporting events.  He stated:  “We would recommend that there not be large crowds.  If that means not having any people in the audience when the NBA plays, so be it.”
  • Dr. Robert Redfield, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, testified that a report that a California nurse being denied a test was only a “misunderstanding.”  He testified to this despite multiple reports about patients being denied tests.

Today’s hearing was cut short after the agencies notified the Committee that President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence called an urgent meeting they needed to attend.  The Committee was given no indication what the meeting was about, but Chairwoman Maloney announced the hearing would continue tomorrow morning at 11:00 AM.

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Issues: 
116th Congress