The Trump administration’s new testing strategy, released Sunday to Congress, holds individual states responsible for planning and carrying out all coronavirus testing, while planning to provide some supplies needed for the tests.
The proposal also says existing testing capacity, if properly targeted, is sufficient to contain the outbreak. But epidemiologists say that amount of testing is orders of magnitude lower than many of them believe the country needs.
The report cements a stance that has frustrated governors in both parties, following the administration’s announcement last month that the federal government should be considered “the supplier of last resort” and that states should develop their own testing plans.
“For months, it was a tennis game, it was going back and forth between the feds and the states, and it’s now landed with the states,” said Scott Becker, executive director of the Association of Public Health Laboratories.
Mr. Becker noted that the federal government plans to distribute some testing supplies, including swabs and viral transport media, and to store test kits in the strategic national stockpile. “That’s actually quite significant,” he said. “That’s a positive step.”