White House tries to clarify who should be tested for coronavirus

At a White House press briefing on coronavirus testing Monday, President Trump and Admiral Brett Giroir, a member of the coronavirus task force, attempted to clarify who should receive a test for the virus.

Video Transcript

- Yeah. Mr. President, if I could just get a clarification on the testing-- we've seen clearly that the numbers of tests have gone up. There have been some advancements in testing. Well, you said twice, sir, today that every American who wants a test can get a test.


- That's not the case. 1.9 million tests per day is far short of every American that wants a test to be able get a test.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Well, I'm going to have the admiral. But I will say just from listening and hearing like you do-- we all do-- not everybody should get a test, because they have to have certain things. And they're going to know when they're not feeling right. Those are the people that will be getting the tests. But Admiral, I'll let you take it from there, please.

ADMIRAL BRETT GIROIR: So everybody who needs a test can get a test. We have plenty of tests for that.


ADMIRAL BRETT GIROIR: Right now, in America, anybody who needs a test can get a test in America with the numbers we have. If you are symptomatic with a respiratory illness that is an indication for a test and you can get a test. If you need to be contact traced, you can get a test. And we hope-- and not hope-- we are starting to have asymptomatic surveillance, which is very important. Again, that's over 3 million tests per week.

That is sufficient for everyone who needs a test-- symptomatic, contact tracing-- and to our best projections, the asymptomatic kind of surveillance we need to get that. And that's the way it is. And remember I work at HHS. I work there every day. I don't get tested every day. I get monitored for my symptoms. Am I febrile? Do I have any other symptoms?

I wear a mask when I go in. That's a safe work environment for the environment we have. If I became symptomatic, I would get a test. And if it were positive, I would isolate and there'd be contact tracing to stop that just the way it was done here. If I'm not symptomatic, I do the precautions as everyone is recommended in phase one. And that's the essence of safely opening America.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: If people want to get tested, they get tested. We have the greatest capacity in the world-- not even close. If people want to get tested, they get tested. But for the most part, they shouldn't want to get tested. There's no reason. They feel good. They don't have sniffles. They don't have sore throats. They don't have any problem.