A coronavirus test made by Abbott Laboratories and introduced with considerable fanfare by President Donald Trump in a Rose Garden news conference this week is giving state and local health officials very little added capacity to perform speedy tests needed to control the COVID-19 pandemic.
“That’s a whole new ballgame,” Trump said. “I want to thank Abbott Labs for the incredible work they’ve done. They’ve been working around-the-clock.”
Yet a document circulated among officials at the Department of Health and Human Services and the Federal Emergency Management Agency this week shows that state and local public health labs were set to receive a total of only 5,500 coronavirus tests from the giant manufacturer of medical devices, diagnostics and drugs, according to emails obtained by Kaiser Health News.
That number falls well short of the “about 500,000 capacity of Abbott tests that” Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator,