McEnany said the president's remarks at his Tulsa rally about coronavirus testing was "a comment that he made in jest, a comment that he made in passing". On Tuesday, Trump also tweeted that "with smaller testing we would show fewer cases!"
Since that statement, White House officials have said Trump was joking or speaking tongue-in-cheek or just trying to illustrate that testing finds cases. "We've done too good of a job".
Just hours before Trump spoke Tuesday, Fauci warned lawmakers about "disturbing surge" of cases in hot-spots states, naming the one Trump was visiting, and said "the next two weeks will be critical" in seeing whether the surge can be contained. Many experts say to control the spread of the virus, it should be testing 900,000 or more.
It is also unclear whether Trump could slow testing by fiat even if he tried: Most testing is administered at a local level by health clinics, pharmacies, and individual doctor's offices, and is not carried out within the federal government's jurisdiction.
"Cases are continuing to rise in Dallas County, and we want to continue with the testing", Rocky Vaz, director of emergency management in Dallas, told Talking Points Memo.
Dr. Fauci said states seeing a spike will need to devote manpower to testing and tracing cases, so they "can do something about them".
While the nation's former virus epicenters NY and New Jersey have largely controlled their outbreaks, the number of cases is now increasing in 20 states. Trump said earlier in the day that he wasn't kidding.
The Trump administration is planning to defund a number of COVID-19 testing sites across the country, and it remains unclear whether doing so might be part of a broad plan by the president to "slow down on testing". Monday, Trump confirmed he was serious, according to CBS News. Many of those people aren't sick or very little.
His comments undercut what the president has said, that the increase in cases is the result of increased testing.
Covid-19 stands for coronavirus disease 2019 and is a reference to the virus that has infected 2.4 million Americans, leading to over 122,000 deaths.
The US was slow in ramping up testing and is now testing some 500,000 people a day. "And in doing so, we're looking at ways that can really substantially enhance testing by potentially pooling samples".
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