WH adviser: CDC ‘let the country down’ with lack of early coronavirus testing

The White House official in charge of coordinating the administration’s efforts to corral medical equipment in the fight against the coronavirus on Sunday blasted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for dropping the ball on early testing.

“Early on in this virus, the CDC, which really had the most trusted brand around the world in this space, really let the country down with the testing because not only did they keep the testing within the bureaucracy, they had a bad test. And that did set us back,” Peter Navarro, the coordinator for the Defense Production Act, said Sunday on NBC News’ “Meet the Press.”

The CDC in early February sent testing kits to the states that were contaminated during production at the agency’s lab in Atlanta — a problem that led to faulty results and delayed the process for weeks.

CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield testified in March that the initial test kit “did not perform the way we wanted it to perform.”

The agency eventually released new testing kits.

Navarro, who is also the White House trade adviser, responded to a group of Democratic senators who urged President Trump to use the Defense Production Act to increase the supply of protective equipment and testing kits, saying they’re “dead wrong.”

“These senators are looking in the rear-view mirror. We had the same discussion six weeks ago about ventilators. They were saying the exact same thing, and what we did with ventilators was basically get a situation now where by June we’re going to have over a hundred thousand of them,” he said, explaining the partnership between General Motors and the government in creating ventilators.

“We’re going to have more ventilators than America ever needs and we’re going to be able to export those ventilators,” he said. “These Democratic senators ought to get out more often and see what the Trump administration is doing.”

He also reiterated President Trump’s assertions that having businesses shuttered and enforcing stay-at-home measures for too long could create dangerous conditions.

“So if you contrast this complete lockdown where some of the people in the medical community want to just run and hide until the virus is extinguished, that’s going to not only take a huge toll on the American economy, it’s going to kill many more people than virus, the China virus ever would,” he said.

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