Debate On COVID-19 Testing Heats Up On National Scale; Pritzker Says Results Didn’t Come In Sunday From One Commercial Lab
Illinois has now topped 30,000 COVID-19 cases – with 1,197 new cases confirmed Sunday and 33 additional deaths. But a potentially large number of cases were not included.
CHICAGO (CBS) — Illinois has now topped 30,000 COVID-19 cases – with 1,197 new cases confirmed Sunday and 33 additional deaths.
But a potentially large number of cases were not included in Sunday’s report by the Illinois Department of Public Health because the state did not receive some test results from a commercial lab. That development came as debate over coronavirus testing heats up around the country.
“As of today, we’ve tested 4.18 million Americans,” said President Donald Trump. “That’s a record anywhere in the world.”
That was one of the first things President Trump said when he held his news conference on Sunday.
“That’s something right,” he said. “We’re doing a great job.”
But as CBS 2’s Mike Puccinelli reported, the doctor who headed up the response to the Ebola crisis in Will County sees it quite differently.
“It’s a complete failure,” said Dr. Howard Ehrman of the University of Illinois at Chicago Medical Center. “There should have been 5 million people tested at the end of February.”
Ehrman said the Trump administration failed when it, unlike the rest of the world, chose not to use a COVID-19 test that was offered by the World Health Organization. He said that cost the country time and allowed the virus to spread across the country.
“That was a fatal mistake for thousands and thousands of Americans who have died since then,” he said.
Vice President Mike Pence said the country is testing 150,000 people a day, and he said that number could double once all the labs in the country are activated.
The president touted the country’s two largest commercial labs as models of testing efficiency.
“These are massive laboratories that can handle a lot more than they are being sent,” he said.
But Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker said testing and testing capacity are very different, and that no state can test at full capacity due to a lack of resources.
As for the commercial labs, Pritzker said Sunday’s caseload announcement shows they’re far from perfect.
“Today, we got no report from one of the largest commercial laboratories in the country, and so that’s a number of tests that were obviously done and completed, but never reported to us, because they didn’t report it to anyone in the country,” Pritzker said. “You know, why that is, I can’t tell you.”
On Monday, we should get an update about how many cases were not included in the numbers Sunday.
That comes as the number of cases nationally has topped 750,000, and the number of deaths in the U.S. has now eclipsed 40,000.