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Anthony Fauci and three other members of the White House coronavirus task force testified to Congress Tuesday that President Trump has never told them to slow down coronavirus testing, and that the U.S. "will in fact be doing more testing" as infections continue to surge in a number of states.

Why it matters: White House officials have insisted that President Trump's claim at a rally on Saturday that he asked to slow down testing because it results in a higher confirmed case count was "tongue-in-cheek." Trump said on Tuesday, however, that the comments were not a joke, telling reporters: "I don't kid."

  • Trump described coronavirus testing as "a double-edged" sword, claiming it accounts for the country's 2.3 million reported cases — the largest case load the world.
  • Last week, Trump called testing "overrated" and said it "makes us look bad."

What they're saying:

"I and my colleagues, to my knowledge, I know that none of us have ever been told to slow down on testing. That is just a fact. In fact, we will be doing more testing as you have heard from the admiral. We will specifically identify people to isolate and contact trace, but more surveillance if you want to get your arms around and understand exactly what is going on in community spread. We are going to be doing more testing, not less."
— NIAID director Anthony Fauci
"As Dr. Fauci said, all of us continue to be committed to increasing timely access to testing. We have made marked improvement. We still have a ways to go. One of the key things as Tony mentioned is expanding surveillance because of the non-symptomatic nature of the infection. We are looking at ways it could substantially impact testing. We are doing 500,000 or 600,000 tests a day. We are continuing to try and enhance testing."
— CDC director Robert Redfield

Between the lines: Fauci told the Wall Street Journal this week that higher percentages of positive tests results in many states "cannot be explained by increased testing," despite what Trump has claimed.

Go deeper: Fauci says U.S. still in first wave of coronavirus pandemic

Go deeper

Oct 1, 2020 - Health

Moderna says its coronavirus vaccine won't be ready until 2021

A laboratory technician preparing a blood sample for a vaccine clinical trial sponsored by Moderna. Photo: Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel said Wednesday that his company's coronavirus vaccine won't be available for widespread distribution until at least spring 2021, according to Financial Times.

Why it matters: Bancel told FT that the drugmaker will not seek emergency authorization for FDA approval for its vaccine for front-line medical workers and at-risk individuals until Nov. 25 at the earliest.

Sep 30, 2020 - Health

COVID-19 cases on the rise among U.S. children

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

An increasing number of COVID-19 cases among school-aged children across the U.S. throughout September may be linked to school reopenings and other community activities resuming.

Driving the news: The American Academy of Pediatrics reported this week that children of all ages make up 10% of U.S cases, up from 2% in April, per AP. As of Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention counted more than 435,000 cases among children ages 0–17, and 93 deaths.