President Trump Signs Deal For Millions Of Rapid Coronavirus Tests

( The White House has plans to disperse 150 million rapid coronavirus tests.

President Donald Trump announced the plan Monday afternoon at the White House. He said the testing would “allow every state on a very regular basis test every teacher who needs it. I’m pleased to report we’re announcing our plan to distribute 150 million Abbott point of care tests in the coming weeks.”

The deal to obtain the tests was first announced by the White House in August. The deal was signed with Abbott Laboratories.

Trump shifted his thoughts about expanded testing during his speech Monday. He said an increase in potential cases, especially those among asymptomatic people in low-risk populations, “should not cause undue alarm.”

“As we massively increase testing capacity, we will identify more cases in asymptomatic individuals in low-risk populations,” he said. “This should not cause undue alarm. The total number of cases is not the full metric of success. Hospitalization capacity and mortality rates are far more instructive metrics. As we do more tests, you’re going to have, automatically, more cases.”

Trump said that roughly 100 million tests “will be given to states and territories to support efforts to reopen their economies and schools immediately and (as) fast as they can.”

The other roughly 50 million tests would go “to protect the most vulnerable communities.” This includes assisted living facilities, nursing homes, historically black colleges, hospice care and tribal nation colleges.

Governors will have flexibility on how they deploy tests in their states, according to Brett Giroir, who serves as the administration’s testing czar. The White House did offer some guidance on prioritization, though, including the implementation of screening for coronavirus.

As Giroir explained:

“Governors have the flexibility to use these tests as they deem fit, but we strongly encourage governors to utilize them in settings that are uniquely in need of rapid low-tech point of care tests, like opening and keeping open our K-12 schools, supporting critical infrastructure and first responders, responding to outbreaks specifically in certain demographics or locations, and screening or surveillance in congregate settings.”

Giroir further explained the distribution plan on CNN Monday night, saying it’s “a real step forward in our testing.”

He continued:

“This doesn’t happen overnight. This took planning for months to actually get BinaxNOW rapid point-of-care tests. The difference between August and now is just that they had to be assembled. The day after the authorization was issued by the FDA, we signed the contract. That doesn’t happen overnight. That’s with weeks of planning to purchase 150 million.

“So, now that the production is up, we’re able to start distributing to the states. This week, 6.5 million to governors to use as they deem fit. Hopefully, for schools and other critical infrastructure.”

The 150 million rapid tests will also help in testing people who have come in contact with people who have been infected by the coronavirus. That’s even if these people aren’t showing any symptoms of having COVID-19.