The Trump administration announced several new steps Friday to ramp up testing for the 2019 novel coronavirus amid widespread pressure from lawmakers on both sides and frustrated Americans. The Food and Drug Administration announced the first rounds of high-volume testing and a 24-hour emergency hotline for laboratories having difficulty getting materials for such tests. The FDA also authorized New York state to allow certain labs to test patients after validating their tests to speed up national testing.
“Within a week we’re going to start seeing a real acceleration of testing,” Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on MSNBC on Friday to explain the increase in testing. “I think we are going to see a much different situation than we saw just a few weeks ago.”
Officials also announced nearly $1.3 million in federal money will go to two companies to develop rapid tests for the coronavirus that could determine whether a person is infected within an hour. The Department of Health and Human Services assigned Brett Giroir, the assistant secretary for health, to coordinate all testing efforts among federal public-health agencies.