WASHINGTON — Dr. Anthony Fauci said Tuesday that the federal government is trying to expand testing, not slow it down as President Donald Trump has suggested in recent days.
In testimony before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Fauci was asked about the president’s recent comments and whether he agrees that it makes sense to limit the number of COVID-19 tests.
“It’s the opposite. We’re going to be doing more testing, not less,” said Fauci, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert, who has played a key role in the Trump administration’s response to the pandemic.
Fauci said that to his knowledge, “None of us have ever been told to slow down on testing — that just is a fact. In fact, we will be doing more testing.”
Fauci’s comments come in stark contrast to Trump’s remarks Saturday, when he told a crowd of his supporters at his first campaign rally in months that he wanted to slow down testing for the coronavirus.
“Testing is a double-edged sword,” said Trump, who added that the U.S. has conducted 25 million tests. “When you do testing to that extent, you’re going to find more people, you’re going to find more cases, so I said to my people, ‘Slow the testing down, please.'”
In his testimony, Fauci said the coronavirus threat right now is a “mixed bag” because the U.S. has been “hit badly” with more than 120,000 deaths and 2.5 million infections.
While he credited the New York metropolitan area with bringing down the number of positive cases and reopening its economy carefully, he said other parts of the country are now experiencing “a disturbing surge of infections.”
“The way you address that — and I’ve said this over and over again — is you have to have the manpower, the system, the testing to identify, isolate and contact trace in an effective way so that when you see those increases, you can understand where they’re coming from. And you can do something about them,” he said.