May 12, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Romney rips Trump's testing czar for framing U.S. testing as a success

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

17 hours ago - Health

HHS requests data on race and ethnicity with coronavirus test results

A nurse writes a note as a team of doctors and nurses performs a procedure on a coronavirus patient in the Regional Medical Center on May 21 in San Jose, California. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The Department of Health and Human Services moved on Thursday to require that an individual's race, ethnicity, age and sex be submitted to the agency with novel coronavirus test results.

Why it matters: Some cities and states have reported the virus is killing black people at disproportionately high rates. There are gaps in the national picture of how many people of color are affected, since the data has not been a requirement for states to collect or disclose.

Updated 16 hours ago - Health

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.

The Department of Health and Human Services moved on Thursday to require that an individual's race, ethnicity, age and sex be submitted to the agency with novel coronavirus test results.

Why it matters: Some cities and states have reported the virus is killing black people at disproportionately high rates. There are gaps in the national picture of how many people of color are affected, since the data has not been a requirement for states to collect or disclose.

Coronavirus cases spike in Texas, Oregon and Arizona

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

Texas, Arizona and Oregon saw significant spikes last week in new coronavirus infections, while cases also continued to climb in a handful of states where steady increases have become the norm.

Why it matters: Nationwide, new cases have plateaued over the past week. To get through this crisis and safely continue getting back out into the world, we need them to go down — a lot.