- The federal government plans to end funding and support for 13 coronavirus testing sites in five states on June 30,Talking Points Memo and CNN reported.
- The decision could hurt Texas especially badly. The state has seven of those testing sites and this week saw a record daily spike in new cases.
- President Donald Trump has stood by remarks that he wants to slow down testing, arguing that widespread testing makes the US outbreak seem worse than those in other countries.
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The 13 affected sites are located in Texas, Illinois, New Jersey, Colorado, and Pennsylvania. They were set up early on in the outbreak by the federal government to amp up testing capabilities and take some of the burden off local and state governments.
Funding for these test sites expire June 30, and federal officials are said to have decided not to extend it.
The reports come after President Donald Trump said over the weekend that the US’s high infection numbers were a result of widespread testing, adding that he had asked officials to start scaling back testing in response.
In a later tweet he added that “cases are going up in the US because we are testing far more than any other country.”
“With smaller testing we would show fewer cases!” Trump tweeted.
Cases are going up in the U.S. because we are testing far more than any other country, and ever expanding. With smaller testing we would show fewer cases!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 23, 2020
While the US has conducted more coronavirus tests than any other country, it lags in terms of coronavirus tests per capita. According to Worldometer, countries like Iceland and the UK have tested more people per capita than the US.
Texas would be perhaps be the state most affected by the federal government’s decision. It is home to seven of the 13 affected sites and this week saw a record daily increase in new cases.
Rocky Vaz, the director of emergency management for the city of Dallas, told Talking Points Memo that he asked for an extension of the testing sites but was turned down.
“They told us very clearly that they are not going to extend it,” Vaz said.
Vaz said the city would probably need to hire private contractors to replace the federal testing sites.
“The personnel, the site, the tents, the generators, the kits, the lab work, the patient notification, all of that,” Vaz said. “These things cost money.”
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