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

Go deeper

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
Aug 20, 2020 - Health

Many Americans still don't have coronavirus testing access

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Even after months of building up testing capacity, more than 67 million Americans — or 20% of the population — live far away from a coronavirus testing site, according to a new analysis by GoodRx.

Why it matters: The spread of the virus makes it clear that nowhere is immune from it, and the only way to stop its spread is to know who has it.

Updated Oct 7, 2020 - Health

World coronavirus updates

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Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

New Zealand now has active no coronavirus cases in the community after the final six people linked to the Auckland cluster recovered, the country's Health Ministry confirmed in an email Wednesday.

The big picture: The country's second outbreak won't officially be declared closed until there have been "no new cases for two incubation periods," the ministry said. Auckland will join the rest of NZ in enjoying no domestic restrictions from late Wednesday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, declaring that NZ had "beat the virus again."

Coronavirus hotspots keep improving

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Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Map: Andrew Witherspoon, Naema Ahmed, Danielle Alberti, Sara Wise/Axios

The coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. continues to slow, driven by significant progress in the South and Southwest, where cases skyrocketed earlier this summer.

Why it matters: All of the second-order controversies consuming the U.S. — like whether to open schools for in-person instruction — would be easier to resolve if we could get the virus under control and keep it there.

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