Key GOP senator warns that U.S. needs millions of coronavirus tests by August

Key GOP senator warns that U.S. needs millions of coronavirus tests by August

Politico reports:

The United States will need to produce hundreds of millions of coronavirus tests in order to give parents and students the confidence they need to return to school in the fall, Sen. Lamar Alexander said in an interview on Friday.

As chairman for the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, the Republican lawmaker said he is spending his days and nights at home in Tennessee “trying to encourage a Manhattan Project for testing” so that every American later this year will have access to a test.

The effort is critical to allowing some semblance of normalcy this fall by letting kids go back to school in time for the fall semester. And that’s going to be a difficult task, Alexander said, unless the government, Congress and the private sector do everything they can to increase test production in the next month.

“My fear is that we’ll get to August and the government says we can all go back to school or back to college,” Alexander said by telephone. “And a lot of people won’t want to do it unless they can be assured that they don’t have the disease, but just as important, that the classmate next to them doesn’t have the disease.”

The scale of the effort is essentially unheard of, but is key for the country to move beyond social distancing that will plague the economy until the government and companies boost their testing or find a vaccine. Alexander said Congress and the administration had stumbled by putting up roadblocks and regulations that made developing new tests and treatments more difficult. [Continue reading…]

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