Dr. Deborah Birx provided the American people an update on how the White House coronavirus task force is handling testing during the pandemic, as reports swirl about the delay on tests in the U.S. While it's important to get their hands on testing kits, Birx acknowledged, it's imperative not to jump the gun and accept tests that are sub par. First and foremost, she said, they are making sure the tests they see are "quality controlled."
Important point about testing from Dr. Birx. Good to have it fast, but also good to have it accurate— Elizabeth Harrington (@LizRNC) March 17, 2020
"We were adamant about having a high quality test, based on our commercial vendors."
Now our testing will be high quality and accurate pic.twitter.com/5OYURMxriv
Birx added that over the next few months, we'll begin to see that other tests being administered around the world are not at the level they should be. Some are even giving out false positives to already fearful citizens.
"We don't buy tests that haven't been quality controlled and they show us the data," Birx insisted.
"Quality testing," she said, is "paramount." "It doesn't help to put out a test where 50 percent are false positive. "The customer, the American people first."
"Imagine testing positive for HIV and not having it?" she added.
The task force was forced to respond after former Vice President Joe Biden, the frontrunner in the 2020 Democratic primary, accused the administration of refusing diagnostic testing kits from the World Health Organization in January. That's false.
As an HHS official said at Tuesday's briefing, "no one ever offered a test that we refused."
President Trump also announced on Tuesday that they will be allowing states to use tests that they've developed.
JUST IN: Pres. Trump outlines new FDA policies aimed at increasing testing for coronavirus—including permitting states to authorize tests developed "within their borders"—and an expansion of Medicare telehealth services. https://t.co/fGuwrsbtfV pic.twitter.com/MFMCF3lTiw— ABC News (@ABC) March 17, 2020