Dr. Anthony Fauci said Friday at the White House that there were more than enough coronavirus tests available for states to begin phase one of reopening the country.
“If these things are done correctly, which I believe they can, we will have and there will be enough tests to allow us to take this country safely through phase one,” Fauci said.
Fauci explained to reporters that although testing was important, it was just one part of the overall strategy to fight the coronavirus.
“The emphasis we’ve been hearing is essentially testing is everything, and it isn’t,” Fauci said.
State and Congressional Democrats have repeatedly raised the alarm about the lack of testing available, despite unprecedented numbers of tests taking place in the United States.
“Testing is an important part of a multi-faceted way that we are going to control and ultimately end this outbreak,” he said.
Dr. Fauci explained that a test for coronavirus would only be of value for one day, pointing out that any person could subsequently contract the disease.
The better test, both Dr. Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx explained, was a test that could test whether a person had the disease and had the proper anti-bodies to prevent getting infected again.
Dr. Birx said that the antibody test was slightly more difficult to get perfected, but that there were currently three tests approved by the Federal Drug Administration. The antibody tests, she said, were currently being used for first responders and health care workers to see how they performed in the field.
“We are taking that very seriously because you never want to tell someone they have an antibody and potential immunity when they don’t,” she said.
Fauci acknowledged that there was a problem with testing when the virus spread in the United States, but that it was corrected by embracing the private sector.
There were plenty of tests available, Fauci said, adding it was an ongoing fight to make sure they were available.
“There is supply and demand,” he said. “If you have a supply that can meet the demand, but the supply is not connected to demand, then supply-demand falls apart.”
Better communications, he said, would continue to connect people with available tests.