Top Coronavirus Doctor Fauci Says COVID-19 Testing 'Infinitely Better' Than it Was: 'We Really Have Caught Up'

US-HEALTH-VIRUS
A police officer mans the entrance to a coronavirus (COVID-19) testing center in Hansen Dam Park on March 25, 2020 in Pacoima, California. - California, the most populous US state, has been one of the worst-hit during the pandemic. At least 51 people have died, with more than 2,500 cases, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University. (Photo by Frederic J. BROWN / AFP) (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images) FREDERIC J. BROWN/Getty

President Donald Trump's top Coronavirus Task Force doctor said Thursday COVID-19 testing is "infinitely better" than it was and that the United States has "really caught up."

"Today, the testing situation is infinitely better than what it was a few weeks ago. We now have hundreds of thousands of tests out there and in the next week or so we'll be having like a million a week," Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director for the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told NPR in an interview.

"In the beginning, it was a slow start. But right now that the commercial firms have gotten involved we really have caught up and we will be seeing a much more improved system with regard to the availability and the implementation of testing," Fauci said.

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Vice President Mike Pence, who was charged with leading the task force, made similar statements in a press briefing Wednesday.

"Not including local labs and hospitals, we are at 432,000 tests completed and we're pleased to see that there are literally drive-through and community sites around the country and the U.S. public health service is assisting states in standing those up each and every day," Pence said.

The vice president also urged hospitals and labs to "provide the results of the tests" to the federal government to give a better picture of what is "happening on the ground."

Dr. Deborah Birx, who is coordinating the U.S. response to the novel coronavirus pandemic, said at a press briefing Tuesday that the 220,000 tests done the previous eight days "put us equivalent to what [South Korea] did in eight weeks."

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"This was made possible because of the [Health and Human Services] team working together, bringing together the strength of the [Food and Drug Administration] and the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] and under the leadership of Secretary [Alex] Azar," Birx said.

Trump tweeted out news of what his administration has done with testing: "Just reported that the United States has done far more 'testing' than any other nation, by far!"

While the United States has administered more tests than any other country in the world, including South Korea, the U.S. is still far behind in testing per capita when compared to the East Asian country. South Korea has been able to test one out every 142 of its citizens, while the U.S. has only tested one out of every 786 Americans, according to CNN. It should be noted that health officials, including Fauci and Birx, have stated multiple times that only those who are showing symptoms should be tested.

As of this publication, the United States has 69,684 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus and 1,049 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

Top Coronavirus Doctor Fauci Says COVID-19 Testing 'Infinitely Better' Than it Was: 'We Really Have Caught Up' | U.S.