Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) criticized the Trump administration's coronavirus testing coordinator Adm. Brett Giroir at a Senate hearing Tuesday, accusing him of framing U.S. testing data in a politically positive light: "I find our testing record nothing to celebrate whatsoever."

The big picture: At a press briefing Monday, President Trump and Giroir touted the fact that the U.S. has now conducted more tests per capita than South Korea. But Romney argued those claims are misleading because South Korea conducted tests much earlier on and no longer needs to test as many people as their case numbers fall.

What he's saying:

"You ignored the fact that they accomplished theirs at the beginning of the outbreak while we treaded water during February and March. As a result, by March 6, the U.S. had completed just 2,000 tests, whereas South Korea had conducted more than 140,000 tests. So partially as a result of that, they have 256 deaths and we have almost 80,000 deaths."

Romney also applauded the country's swift efforts to develop a vaccine, but he rebuked President Trump's dubious claim that former President Obama is somehow responsible for the country's lack of a vaccine.

  • He asked Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, if either Trump or Obama is responsible for the lack of a vaccine.
  • "No, no, senator, not at all," Fauci responded. "Certainly not Obama, nor President Trump, is responsible for us not having a vaccine."

Go deeper: Trump contradicts health officials on who can get a coronavirus test

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How to do smarter coronavirus testing

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

With testing once again a huge vulnerability to America’s coronavirus response, public health officials are calling for a revamped strategy that features the use of more tests, even if they're imperfect.

Why it matters: The system is overwhelmed by the demand for tests, and yet prolific testing is key to identifying asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic coronavirus cases. Experts say the solution is smarter testing — which doesn't require perfect accuracy.

Aug 9, 2020 - Health

Ohio governor urges Americans not to lose faith in testing after false positive

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) said on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday that Americans shouldn't think testing for the coronavirus is "not reliable or doesn't work," after he received a false positive result from an antigen test last week.

Why it matters: DeWine is one of six governors who have agreed to pool their resources, along with the Rockefeller Foundation, in order to acquire 3 million antigen tests amid severe delays and the lack of a national testing strategy.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9:30 p.m. ET: 20,004,254 — Total deaths: 733,929 — Total recoveries — 12,209,226Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9:30 p.m. ET: 5,088,516 — Total deaths: 163,400 — Total recoveries: 1,670,755 — Total tests: 62,513,174Map.
  3. Politics: Trump claims he would have not called for Obama to resign over 160,000 virus deathsHouse will not hold votes until Sept. 14 unless stimulus deal is reached.
  4. Business: Richer Americans are more comfortable eating out.
  5. Public health: 5 states set single-day coronavirus case records last week — A dual coronavirus and flu threat is set to deliver a winter from hell.
  6. Sports: The cost of kids losing gym class — College football is on the brink.
  7. World: Europe's CDC recommends new restrictions amid "true resurgence in cases."