Mar 19, 2020 - Politics & Policy

House Oversight asks for Trump administration's coronavirus testing plan

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The House Oversight Committee asked the Trump administration on Thursday to demonstrate how it plans to produce and distribute coronavirus testing kits to Americans.

The big picture: The testing capacity for the coronavirus has expanded in the U.S. as more commercial labs pledge to up production. But labs have been sounding the alarm about dwindling supplies — and early testing failures left the country in the dark on how many people have been exposed to the virus.

What they're saying: "We are gravely concerned that, due to multiple missteps, people across the country have been unable to get tested as healthcare providers are being forced to ration the extremely limited number of tests available, significantly degrading our country's ability to conduct accurate modeling of the spread of the virus," House Oversight Chair Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) asked, alongside other subcommittee chairs.

  • The Trump administration's coronavirus task force has fallen short of its promise to ship millions of tests to Americans by last week, the chairs point out.
  • The committee also wants information on how the administration plans to produce and ship coronavirus tests, which officials are involved in coordinating the effort, and documentation on the country's testing capacity.

Flashback: Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said last week that the health care system "is not really geared to what we need right now" when asked if there is one person in charge who can ensure that Americans who need coronavirus tests are receiving them.

  • "That is a failing. Let's admit it. ... The idea of anybody getting it easily the way people in other countries are doing it — we're not set up for that. Do I think we should be? Yes. But we're not," he said.

Go deeper: Coronavirus testing is getting better

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U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced plans Tuesday to make wearing face coverings mandatory statewide for most people over the age of 10 when inside public places. The measure is effective Friday and applies to places like retailers, on public transportation and government buildings.

By the numbers: More than 98,900 people have died from the novel coronavirus and over 1.6 million have tested positive in the U.S. Over 384,900 Americans have recovered and more than 14.9 million tests have been conducted.

The coronavirus is making it even harder to care for seniors

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Caring for older adults was already expensive, emotionally taxing and logistically difficult — and the coronavirus is only making it worse.

Why it matters: People older than 65 have the highest risk of dying from the virus, and outbreaks have been rampant in long-term care facilities. That is creating anxiety for seniors and their families.

Census Bureau reports spike in signs of anxiety and depression since coronavirus

A food bank distribution line in Brooklyn, New York. Photo: Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

Americans are experiencing an increase in anxiety and depression amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to a Census Bureau survey cited by the Washington Post.

Why it matters: The findings indicate a significant uptick in clinical anxiety and depression since the onset of the virus. Despite communities and economies reopening, the COVID-19 outbreak is far from over.