When then President Donald Trump claimed in March 2020 that “Anybody that wants a test can get a test,” he was wrong. He was wrong again in May when he said, “If somebody wants to be tested right now, they’ll be able to be tested.” In July, long lines at testing centers and delayed results continued to paint a picture of a country seriously hampered in its ability to create an effective testing regime, one of the most important tools for combating the pandemic.
The failures began early, when tests created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention turned out to be faulty, resulting in lost time and work. Bureaucratic hurdles further delayed widespread testing, and narrow guidelines for who could get tested allowed the virus to circulate among those who were asymptomatic or who were experiencing symptoms they thought to be from a cold.
American Oversight’s investigation of these early and continuing testing missteps includes requests for related communications and directives, and data on the number of people who had been tested at various times to determine whether the facts match what public officials had been saying. We’re also looking into how the federal government coordinated with state public health agencies, including its reportedly having told certain state medical officials to stop testing during the early months of the crisis.