May 11, 2020
REMARKS BY PRESIDENT TRUMP IN A PRESS BRIEFING ON COVID-19 TESTING,
11 May 2020
We’re here today to provide an update on the unprecedented testing capacity developed by the United States
THE PRESIDENT: We’re here today to provide an update on the unprecedented testing capacity developed by the United States — the most advanced and robust testing system anywhere in the world, by far. This afternoon, I’ll also announce new steps that we’re taking to make tests even more widely available.
To battle a virus, my administration marshaled every resource at our nation’s disposal: public, private, military, economic, scientific, and industrial — all at your disposal. We launched the largest manufacturing ramp-up since the Second World War. There’s been nothing like it since.
At the center of this industrial and scientific mobilization was the development of our coronavirus testing capabilities. In the span of just a few short months, we’ve developed a testing capacity unmatched and unrivaled anywhere in the world, and it’s not even close. This is a core element of our plan to safely and gradually reopen America. And we’re opening, and we’re starting, and there’s enthusiasm like I haven’t seen in a long time.
Every American should be proud of the amazing array of talent, skill, and enterprise our nation has brought to this challenge. In three months, the FDA has authorized more than 92 different tests, and over 9 million have been performed here in the United States. Three weeks ago, we were conducting roughly 150,000 tests per day. Now we’re doing approximately 300,000 tests per day — a 100 percent increase — and it will go up substantially from that number.
This week, the United States will pass 10 million tests conducted — nearly double the number of any other country. We’re testing more people per capita than South Korea, the United Kingdom, France, Japan, Sweden, Finland, and many other countries — and, in some cases, combined.
On Friday, the FDA authorized coronavirus antigen tests, an alternative testing technology that can be much more readily manufactured. Quidel Corporation, which makes this newly authorized point-of-care test, estimates that it will be able to manufacture 150,000 tests per day, immediately increasing to 300,000 tests per day within just a few weeks.
To further expand our nation’s testing capabilities, this afternoon I am announcing that my administration is — and that we’ve got this all approved; it’s all done — is sending $1 billion to America’s states, territories, and tribes. So this has all been approved. We’ve gotten it done, completed. The money is going out. This major investment will ensure that America continues to conduct more tests than any country on Earth by far.
I said from the beginning that the federal government would back up the states and help them build their testing capability and capacities, and that’s exactly what’s happened. This partnership has truly flourished. We have really had a very good relationship with the states and the governors and other representatives within the states — a relationship like, I think I can honestly say, has not been seen in this country for many, many years.
The governors and us are working together very closely not only on testing, but on ventilators, where we have a capacity that’s, at this point, virtually unlimited. And we’re sending ventilators — as you probably heard from other countries, we’re sending many, many thousands of ventilators to other countries because they’re in tremendous need. And I think building up a lot of goodwill, but much more importantly than that, we’re saving a lot of lives.
Most states are now doing a great job. My administration located 5,000 machines in 700 labs across all 50 states, and governors have learned how to maximize these testing resources.
The federal government is also supporting states with vital supplies, quick approvals of new tests, and one-on-one coaching from the team here at the White House on how to increase capacity and increase it very quickly.
In recent weeks, we’ve held multiple conference calls with every state, as well as with D.C. and Puerto Rico. We jointly developed testing projections and goals for each state for the month of May, altogether totaling 12.9 million tests. Think of that: 12.9 million tests.
Today, I’m announcing that my administration will provide the collection supplies to help states meet their targets and meet them rapidly.
During the month of May, FEMA and HHS will be delivering 12.9 million swabs to states nationwide. We already have them; the delivery will be very quick. We’re prepared to provide millions of additional swabs if any state is on a pace to surpass its goal. And their goals are very high. We’ve set them very high, and we’ve told them to set them very high.
My administration will also provide approximately 9 million transport media, which are used to transfer swabs to the lab processing. A complicated process, but we’ve made it simple. As a result of these actions, every single state will be able to test more people per capita in May alone than South Korea has tested in four months since the outbreak began.
This major commitment is possible because of the massive mobilization of American industry, including Puritan Medical Products, U.S. Cotton, Abbott Labs, and Thermo Fisher. Some of these incredible companies produced and produce rapidly for us, and their products are here with us this afternoon. These are all different products that were literally just developed, and — if you can imagine that. And these are the best machines and the best equipment anywhere in the world. And other countries are calling us, and we’re trying to work as much as we can, not only on ventilators, but also with testing.
My administration also continues our tireless effort to expand testing in the most underserved communities. Through our partnership with the private sector, leading pharmacies and retailers are now operating over 240 testing sites across the country, and that’s in addition to all of the other sites that we have working. Seventy percent of these sites are located in communities with unique vulnerabilities.
There will be more than 300 sites by the end of this week, and retailers are making plans to open up hundreds and hundreds more locations within the next 30 days. These additional sites are helping us ensure access to testing in every community. My administration is fighting relentlessly to protect all citizens of every color and creed from this terrible virus, the invisible enemy.
In addition to vast amounts of testing supplies, my administration has partnered with the private sector to coordinate the delivery of more than 90 million N95 masks, and these are of the highest quality — many are made right here in the United States, a capacity we didn’t have at all at the beginning — 126 million surgical masks — likewise, many are made here; 9 million face shields; 21 million surgical gowns; 993 million gloves; and 10,690 ventilators. We’re building thousands of ventilators in numerous plants all across our country. It’s incredible, actually.
This global pandemic has inflicted great pain and hardship on our people. It should have never been allowed to happen. It should have been stopped at the source. We mourn for every life the virus has claimed, and we share the grief of all of you who have lost a loved one — and that goes worldwide, too. Many, many countries — 184 countries, at least.
Thanks to the courage of our citizens and our aggressive strategy, hundreds of thousands of lives have been saved. And we have saved — and if you look at on a per-100,000 basis, we’re at the best part of the pack, right on the bottom. Germany and us are leading the world. Germany and the United States are leading the world — lives saved per hundred thousand.
In every generation, through every challenge and hardship and danger, America has risen to the task. We have met the moment, and we have prevailed. Americans do whatever it takes to find solutions, pioneer breakthroughs, and harness the energies we need to achieve a total victory.
Day after day, we’re making tremendous strides. With the dedication of our doctors and nurses — these are incredible people, these are brave people, these are warriors — with the devotion of our manufacturing workers, food suppliers, and lab technicians, and with the profound patriotism of the American people, we will defeat this horrible enemy, we will revive our economy, and we will transition into greatness. That’s a phrase you’re going to hear a lot because that’s what’s going to happen.
We’re going into the third quarter, and we’re going to do well. In the fourth quarter, we’re going to do very good. And next year, I think we’re going to have one of the best years we’ve ever had because there’s a tremendous pent-up demand. It’s a demand — and I’m feeling it. I’ve felt things a lot over my life, and I’ve made a lot of good calls. It’s a demand like I don’t think I’ve ever seen. There’s a pent-up demand. There’s a — there’s a spirit of this country like few have seen. And I think you can say — and we’ve helped a lot of the countries a lot. Really, a lot. There’s a tremendous spirit all over the world to beat this terrible, terrible thing.
But we’re transitioning to greatness, and the greatness is going to be in the fourth quarter, but it’s really going to be next year, and it’s going to be a year like we’ve never had before. I really believe that. As good as we’ve done — and we’ve done great; we had the best economy in the history of the world, not just here, but anywhere in the world. You can talk China, you can talk any other country, we had the best economy anywhere in the world.
And we were going for numbers, whether it was unemployment numbers, where we had our best numbers; employment, also, numbers — a little different — where we had our best numbers, almost 160 million people. All of that — we had the greatest stock market numbers ever. I think we had 142 days where we set records in a short period of time. A hundred and fifty-two days we set records in the stock market. We rebuilt our military, all built in the United States. All of our equipment built — $1.5 trillion plus.
On the southern border, the wall is being built. It’s being built rapidly. And now you don’t hear the opponents talking too much about the border. They don’t like to talk about it because it seemed that we were right on a lot of things. One of the things we were right about — one of the many things was the border. We have a very powerful border. Now, we had one of the best weeks in the history of our border, between the United States and Mexico — our southern border. We have very few people coming in — very, very few. Almost record low numbers.
And the wall is being built. It’s up to 181 miles already. It’s being built. It’s being built rapidly. People don’t talk about it anymore because it’s very successful. In the area where the wall has built — that is a lot still, but we want to be up to 450 by a very short period of time. Early next year, we should be up to 450. And very shortly after that, over 500 miles to be completed.
But it’s had a tremendous impact. But again, we’ve had the best numbers. The last thing we want now with this pandemic is for people to come across our southern border. And again, we’re doing record numbers, meaning record low numbers.
So I just want to thank everybody, and I want to introduce Admiral Giroir — if you could, please come up — and Brad, if you would — Brad Smith. And they’re going to do a little explaining as to what we’ve done with regard to testing and how successful it’s been.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much.