President Trump claimed at a press briefing Monday that any American who "wants" a coronavirus test can get one — contradicting his testing coordinator Adm. Brett Giroir, who just moments earlier said that tests are mostly reserved for people who "need" one because they present symptoms or are participating in contact tracing.

Why it matters: Trump used the briefing largely to celebrate the country's success in ramping up testing capacity, at one point boasting that "we have met the moment and we have prevailed" in regards to testing. But questions still remain about how Americans will be able to safely return to work if asymptomatic people don't have access to testing.

Between the lines: The White House, meanwhile, has proven to be a microcosm of what a country with high-quality testing, surveillance and isolation capability can look like.

  • Giroir explained that people who are in close contact with the president are tested regularly using the 15-minute Abbotts lab device, even if they're asymptomatic.
  • This is how the White House was able to diagnose Pence press secretary Katie Miller and isolate officials like Anthony Fauci who came into contact with her.

What they're saying: "Right now in America, anybody who needs a test gets a test in America, with the numbers we have," Giroir said. "If you're symptomatic with a respiratory illness, that is an indication for a test and you can get a test. If you need to be contact traced, you can get a test."

  • "And we hope — not hope — we are starting to have asymptomatic surveillance, which is very important. Again, that's over 3 million tests per week. That is sufficient for everyone who needs a test — symptomatic, contact tracing and, to our best projections, the asymptomatic surveillance we need."
  • "I think we have been clear all along that we believe and the data indicate we have enough testing to do the phase one gradual reopening that has been supported in the president's plan and the task force's plan. It has to be a phased reopening."

Earlier in the briefing, when asked when Americans can get tested every day like White House senior staff can, Trump responded: "Very soon."

  • He later said: "If people want to get tested, they get tested. We have the greatest capacity in the world, not even close. If people want to get tested they get tested, but for the most part, they shouldn't want to get tested."
  • "There is no reason. They feel good. They don't have sniffles. They don't have sore throats. They don't have any problem."

The bottom line: Trump and Giroir's statements blurred the line between two different concepts, as The Daily Beast's Sam Stein points out. People who "need" a test because they have symptoms or were in contact with an infected person can get one, but the number of tests "needed" to safely reopen the country is not yet sufficient.

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Aug 18, 2020 - World

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The CDC has lifted its coronavirus warning against nonessential travel to Bermuda, as the island ramps up a scheme to attract foreign workers on year-long residencies and marks 57 days with no detected community spread.

Driving the news: Over half of the British Overseas Territory's population has been tested for COVID-19 since on-island capabilities were set up on March 17. Premier David Burt told Axios the strict testing has left him "confident that we are going to be able to catch any clusters before they spread."

Aug 18, 2020 - Health

Notre Dame cancels in-person classes after surge of COVID-19 cases

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The University of Notre Dame announced Tuesday that it is canceling in-person classes for at least two weeks following a spike in coronavirus cases.

Why it matters: Notre Dame is the second prominent university to announce this week that it would revert back to remote learning, following the the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on Tuesday. The reversals underscore the challenges facing colleges and universities as more students are set return to campus.

MyPillow CEO defends promoting unproven COVID-19 "cure"

CNN's Anderson Cooper on Tuesday clashed with MyPillow CEO Michael Lindell, a Trump supporter, for promoting oleandrin, an unproven therapeutic treatment for the coronavirus.

Why it matters: Lindell and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson both have financial stakes in the company that develops oleandrin and would profit if the treatment is sold widely. It's part of a pattern in which entrepreneurs, often without rigorous vetting, push unproven products to Trump — knowing their sales pitches might catch his eye, Axios's Jonathan Swan writes.