Trump Walks Back Huge Goal For Tests After His Own Testing Chief Said It Was Impossible

President Donald Trump takes questions from reporters as Assistant Secretary for Health admiral Brett Giroir looks on during the daily briefing on COVID-19 on April 20, 2020.(Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
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April 29, 2020 2:57 p.m.

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump retracted his claim that the U.S. will soon be able to administer 5 million COVID-19 tests every day after his own testing director on the White House task force, Admiral Brett Giroir, emphatically rejected the possibility of that goal.

“Somebody started throwing around five million,” Trump told reporters, referring to a Harvard University study that found that reopening the economy would only be feasible if the government were able to do at least five million tests daily by early June, and then ramp it up to 20 million tests each day by late July.

“I didn’t say 5 million,” Trump said, despite the fact that he had said exactly that the day before.

On Tuesday, Trump had told a reporter that “we’re going to be there very soon” when she asked if the U.S. would be able to carry out 5 million tests a day.

That was the same day Giroir told TIME that “there is absolutely no way on Earth, on this planet or any other planet, that we can do 20 million tests a day, or even 5 million tests a day.”

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