Assistant Health Secretary Brett Giroir said Thursday that the rate of positive COVID-19 cases has increased, challenging an earlier claim made by President Trump that the only reason the U.S. has seen such a spike in coronavirus cases was because of expanded testing for the virus.
Asst. Health Secretary Brett Giroir said of positive cases in COVID-19 testing on Thursday: "There is no question that the more testing you get, the more you will uncover – but we do believe this is a real increase in cases, because the percent positivities are going up." pic.twitter.com/01q4V8QDzl
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) July 2, 2020
“There is no question that the more testing you get, the more you will uncover,” Giroir, the Trump administration’s point person on coronavirus testing, told a select House subcommittee on the coronavirus. “But we do believe this is a real increase in cases, because the percent positivity’s are going up. So, this is real increases in cases.”
Giroir was responding to a question about Trump’s argument that new COVID-19 hot spots and spiking cases are largely due to increased testing efforts. At Trump’s rally last month in Tulsa, the President infamously said he had asked his administration to “slow the testing down.”
Giroir also cautioned that while country had “flattened the curve” at one time in the early days of the pandemic, that is no longer the reality as cases surge in some states.
“The curve is still going up,” he said, adding that infections in Arizona, California, Florida and Texas now account for 50% of the nation’s new cases as they continue to set new daily records in positive test results.
In a separate committee briefing on Wednesday, Giroir suggested that the country’s coronavirus testing is close to pushing the limits of its capacity. Testing lines have been known to stretch for miles at some sites.
Young people, particularly those under the age of 35, who are gathering and not wearing proper protection such as masks, are key actors in perpetuating the outbreaks, Giroir said.
Although many states have made progress in slowing the spread of the virus, Giroir said spikes in hotspot states are “very concerning to all in public health.”
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