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Tuesday, April 20th, 2021

Senators urge Trump to ramp up COVID-19 testing, tracing

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A group of U.S. Senators, including Sens. Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), sent a letter to President Donald Trump regarding the COVID-19 Testing Blueprint that the Administration recently released.

The blueprint includes plans to expand state testing capacity and establish contact tracing and monitoring systems for a phased reopening of the states over the next few months.

“Our public health, government, and business leaders need information about who has COVID-19, who needs to be isolated or quarantined, and who may be immune due to previous infection,” the senators wrote. “The only way to get that information is testing: widespread, fast, free testing —and the only way to accomplish testing on the scale needed is a nationally coordinated effort. Experts predict we will need to be able to administer at least 500,000 tests per day as part of an effective testing regime.”

The senators urged Trump to quickly allocate the $25 billion provided in the law to ramp up testing.

“Further, we expect prompt formulation, reporting, and implementation of a highly detailed and specific national strategic plan, as required in the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act. Your Administration must take a “whole of society” approach that will quickly scale and optimize COVID-19 testing, help build a massive workforce to trace and mitigate additional community spread, and help get America back to work,” the senator’s added in their letter.

The letter was signed by Rosen, Cortez Masto, and 38 other Senate Democrats, along with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).

“The United States should not have to settle for anything less than best practices and the highest standard possible in our fight against this virus. We stand ready to do bipartisan work to increase testing capacity as high as necessary to fully address this threat, and as part of this work, your Administration needs to fundamentally revisit how much testing capacity it must build,” they added.