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Trump 'Inherited' Broken Coronavirus Test, But CDC Developed It this Year

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Trump 'Inherited' Broken Coronavirus Test, But CDC Developed It this Year

2020-04-08 12:22:54

By Laura Tucker, Staff writer; Image: Donald Trump (Image source: Screenshot)

At this point Donald Trump's pathological lying is well-documented. There are organizations that do nothing by count the lies he has made: since he took office, on Twitter alone, in just one month, from one press briefing, etc. But now that he and his administration are over the barrel because of the mistakes made during the coronavirus pandemic, the lies are becoming more egregious and more obvious. 

Even the president's allies and supporters can't talk back his lies about the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's coronavirus test. You don't need much fact-checking to realize he could not have "inherited" the faulty test, as COVID-19 didn't exist in previous administrations, not even Barack Obama's, whom he was most likely trying to blame.

It's referred to as the "novel coronavirus" for a reason. Novel means new in this instance. Coronavirus is a wide group of RNA viruses, including MERS and SARS. China announced the news strain, SARS-CoV-2, also known as COVID-19, on the most recent New Year's Eve  – 2019. 

On March 21, Trump said he inherited an "obsolete, broken testing system. A week later, he said there had been an obsolete "testing situation."

Dr. Tom Frieden, the CDC director during the Obama administration, said the Trump administration "inherited the system that has worked in every prior emergency." 

On March 30 of this year, Trump said on "Fox and Friends, "We inherited a broken test — the whole thing was broken," shifting to blaming the test itself instead of the "system" or "situation."

He said in his April 1 White House briefing, "And remember this: we inherited — the word is we inherited bad tests. We really inherited bad tests. These are horrible tests. And it was broken. It was all broken. And we fixed it." 

Two days later, he took it further and told a reporter, "The original test — the ones we inherited, Jim, as an example, they were — they were broken. They were obsolete. They were not good tests. And that's what we got stuck with."

This week he said again, "Initially speaking, the tests were old, obsolete, and not really prepared." 

However, the CDC was tasked with creating the COVID-19 test in January of this year. This was not an outdated test the administration was left with.

"He is lying. He is lying 100 percent. He is lying because he is trying to shift blame to others, even if the attempt is totally nonsensical," said Gregg Gonsalves, an assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases at Yale School of Public Health. 

Epidemiology professor Tara Smith at Kent State University added that Trump's claim "doesn't make sense because it is false," adding, "This is a new virus."

Michael Mina, the assistant professor of epidemiology at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health agreed, noting Trump's claim is "absurd," as "this virus did not exist in the prior administration." 

Mina also said, "The technology used to test for this virus is technology that is routinely used in clinical microbiology laboratories. It is not faulty."

The World Health Organization, who is also being blamed by Trump, distributed a COVID-19 test. However, as they have previously done, the CDC created its own test in January 2020 and announced on February 5 that it would start shipping the testing kits within the U.S. 

A short time later, it was reported that some of the testing kits weren't working as they should. Dr. Robert Redfield, appointed by Trump, had led the CDC since 2018. He admitted to a problem with the test on February 12. By February 28 the CDC manufactured new tests addressing the earlier problem.

Further, if Trump wants to point to failures in an administration, he need not look any further than his own. Former national security adviser John Bolton reorganized the National Security Council in May 2018. Rear Adm. Timothy Ziemer left his post leading the global health security team, leading to it being disbanded. Tom Bossert had requested a comprehensive biodefense strategy against pandemics, but he was fired one month before the team disbanded. 

Last July the Trump administration told the U.S. embed at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention that her position was being defunded, and she consequently left. Her role was to help train Chinese public health experts. She also served as a liaison between the Chinese and U.S. It likely would have been her role to warn the U.S. about COVID-19 before the official announcement on New Year's Eve.

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