Trump Administration To Cease Funding COVID-19 Testing Sites After President’s ‘Slow Down’ Comments

At his rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, President Donald Trump told the world that he had asked officials to slow down testing for COVID-19, because the results were making him look bad. Though representatives of the president said this was a joke or tongue-in-cheek comment, Trump denied that later, saying, “I don’t kid,” and calling testing a double-edged sword. Now, his administration will cease funding testing sites.

Trump administration halts funding for testing
WASHINGTON, DC – JUNE 23: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to reporters before boarding Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House on June 23, 2020 in Washington, DC. Trump is traveling to Arizona where he will tour border-wall-construction operations in Yuma, later speaking to a conservative advocacy group in Phoenix. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

NBC was able to confirm Wednesday that the Trump administration plans to put an end to funding for COVID-19 testing sites at the end of June. A transition to state and community funding was previously slated to begin in April, but funding was extended. Testing is one tool that helps monitor and limit the spread of the virus, allowing even those who are asymptomatic or presymptomatic but still contagious to self-quarantine, and enabling contact tracing.

However, the president has expressed derogatory opinions on testing multiple times. Forbes reported last month that he had said in a speech at a medical supply distributor, “When you test, you have a case. When you test, you find something is wrong with people. If we didn’t do any testing, we would have very few cases.”

Trump has actively opposed other means to control the spread of the virus as well, including masks and social distancing.

While ending testing will stop numbers of confirmed cases from increasing, there’s another number that this move won’t help with: hospitalizations. The CDC has several models estimating how this will go forward, but if the number of patients sick enough to require a hospital continues to rise, an end to testing won’t be enough to hide it.

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