Jared Kushner claims ‘we have all the testing we need’ — actual experts say he's wrong
Medical officials say the United States may need to conduct as many as 20 million tests a day in order to prevent a second, deadlier wave in the fall
The senior White House adviser and son-in-law to Donald Trump told Fox News on Wednesday morning: “I'm very confident we have all the testing we need to start reopening the country.”
“Everyone’s talking about testing,” the 39-year-old said. “I have to say the work that’s been done over the last 60 days on testing has been absolutely extraordinary.”
"I think what you’ll see in May as the states are reopening now is May will be a transition month, you’ll see a lot of states starting to phase in the different reopening based on the safety guidelines that President Trump outlined on April 19," he added. "I think you’ll see by June that a lot of the country should be back to normal, and the hope is that by July the country’s really rocking again."
Mr Kushner also claimed the US had conducted more tests for Covid-19 — “by far the most in the world” — than any other country, adding: “We’ve fulfilled all the orders that the governors have, they have excess capacity in their states.”
Meanwhile, medical experts have said there are nowhere near enough testing kits distributed throughout the country in order to begin reopening states. Harvard’s Global Health Institute placed the daily rate of testing needed to reopen the country at 500,000, while the US currently conducts about 150,000 tests each day.
That’s a much lower estimate than others, which have suggested the US needs to conduct as much as 10 to 20 million tests daily in order to prevent a deadlier second wave from potentially sweeping over the country come the fall.
Dr Asha Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, said in a statement: “Testing is really at the centre of the entire strategy for how we keep the virus at bay as we reopen the economy.”
Mr Kushner noted previous claims from Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who said earlier this week he had “more testing capacity than he has demand”, according to the adviser.
However, health experts in Florida have said the state sorely requires more Covid-19 testing.
Steve Bahmer, president of a a major trade association representing nursing homes and assisted living facilities across Florida, said in a statement to Tampa Bay Times: “Expanding testing is exactly the right way to go and the only way we get ahead of this. The challenge is, it isn’t enough, especially as we look to reopen the state.”
Countries with test positivity over 10 per cent are likely not providing effective infection control, according to guidelines from the World Health Organisation.
The US currently maintains a positive testing rate of about 20 per cent, according to US News and World Report, while countries like South Korea — which confirmed its first case of the novel virus on the same day as the US — have rates as low as 3 per cent. Germany’s positive testing rate reportedly stands at 7 per cent.
Still, Mr Kushner has continued to push the idea that current testing capabilities are enough to reopen the country.
“We’re really doing quite well” with testing, Mr Kushner concluded. “The leading indicators on testing are extraordinarily positive.”