• November 29, 2022

WH Virus Testing Czar Smacks Down Stephanopoulos On Extreme Requirements to Reopen Country

 WH Virus Testing Czar Smacks Down Stephanopoulos On Extreme Requirements to Reopen Country

As reporters in the media constantly find ways to politicize this virus and attack Americans who don’t want the country in a national lockdown for years to come, some officials in President Trump’s coronavirus task force are hitting back against the media’s constant drumbeat of negativity. Admiral Brett Giroir, the White House’s coronavirus testing czar, appeared on ABC’s Good Morning America today to field critical questions from anchor George Stephanopoulos about the federal testing response to the virus. As Stephanopoulos repeatedly argued the need for exaggerated testing requirements, Giroir refuted his criticism with contextual data which offered hope and a comprehensive strategy instead of the media’s one size fits all, doom and gloom approach.

Even before the interview began, Stephanopoulos was hyping how testing needed to ramp up nearly 400% before we could reopen the country:

“So far the U.S. has completed 5.4 million tests but experts say that number will have to rise dramatically up to 20 million a day before we can fully open the economy,” the ABC anchor began, before touting a Democrat senator’s complaints about the Trump administration’s guidelines to reopen, and asking Giroir to respond:

STEPHANOPOULOS: There’s a strong consensus we’ll need lots of testing to reopen. But critics are saying the White House guidelines don’t go far enough. That you need mandates and a national strategy, more funding. Here’s what Senator Patty Murray had to say over night. She says “Your plan doesn’t set specific minimum goals, offer a time frame, identify ways to fix our broken supply chain or offer any details whatsoever on expanding lab capacity or achieving needed manufacturing capacity.” What is your response to Senator Murray?

Giroir shot down the Democrat’s criticism saying bluntly that she “doesn’t understand” how the federal response is treating each state with tailored plans:

ADMIRAL BRETT GIROIR: Well, my response is the blueprint we did yesterday was meant to outline the roles and responsibilities as well as the core objectives of a testing and rapid response program. I guess Senator Murray just does not understand the details of what we’re doing on a state-by-state basis. Our team has contacted her and are working with every single state, D.C., Puerto Rico to define really the specifics of what that state need according to their state reopening plan and the 2% really is sort of a minimum floor. There are many states that want to do 4%, 6%, 8% every month…

That didn’t stop Stephanopoulos from stubbornly trying again, this time citing ABC News contributor Chris Christie demanding the federal government order a larger-scale federal response:

STEPHANOPOULOS: But it’s not just Senator Murray who has had this kind of criticism. You even have one of the president’s strongest allies, Former Governor Chris Christie said the White House has or the president has to order the Defense Production Act to fix the supply chain and make sure every state has what it needs.

Grioir again shut down the criticism as uninformed. “You know, I’m in the middle of this. Everyone who is commenting is really on the periphery,” he shot back. He went on to add that the DPA was being ordered on a small scale to help with testing kids for the Fall, but that American industries were working together so more DPAs was not really “necessary.”

However, Stephanopoulos continued to tout sources with highly unrealistic standards for reopening the country, such as a report from Harvard University which claimed we needed 20 million people tested daily by July (By the way, this is the same university with an over 40 billion dollar endowment that greedily refused to give back its federal stimulus relief cash at the administration’s request):

[I]s that hand up going to be enough? I know you’ve seen this report from the experts at Harvard who say that we’re going to need to really open the economy to get started, we’ll need to be testing 5 million people a day in June. Up to 20 million in July and that the guidelines you’ve laid out can’t get us anywhere near that.

Again, Giroir showed he was ready to dismantle those projections with contextual data and rational analysis, something sorely lacking in the media’s coverage of this virus:

So, we don’t believe those estimates are really accurate, nor are they reasonable in our society. What we’re talking about, the 2% number, let’s just put that in context. 2% per month is almost double the per capita rate that South Korea has achieved over the last four months accumulated,” the czar began. He added that some states would be doing much higher rates of testing in their state.

After asking about the quality of the antibody tests, Stephanopoulos concluded the interview.

The media has been deliberately negative in its reporting on the federal response to the virus.

Read the transcript, below:

Good Morning America

4/28/2020

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Okay, Amy, thanks. We begin with the closer look at the critical issue of testing for covid. So far the U.S. has completed 5.4 million tests but experts say that number will have to rise dramatically up to 20 million a day before we can fully open the economy. And yesterday the white house laid out guidelines for states to ramp up testing to 2% of the U.S. population each month. We’re joined now by the official in charge of the white house testing effort, admiral Brett Giroir. Welcome back to GMA, admiral. Thank you for joining us this morning. There’s a strong consensus we’ll need lots of testing to reopen. But critics are saying the white house guidelines don’t go far enough. That you need mandates and a national strategy, more funding. Here’s what Senator Patty Murray had to say over night. She says “Your plan doesn’t set specific minimum goals, offer a time frame, identify ways to fix our broken supply chain or offer any details whatsoever on expanding lab capacity or achieving needed manufacturing capacity.” What is your response to Senator Murray?

ADMIRAL BRETT GIROIR: Well, my response is the blueprint we did yesterday was meant to outline the roles and responsibilities as well as the core objectives of a testing and rapid response program. I guess Senator Murray just does not understand the details of what we’re doing on a state-by-state basis. Our team has contacted her and are working with every single state, D.C., Puerto Rico to define really the specifics of what that state need according to their state reopening plan and the 2% really is sort of a minimum floor. There are many states that want to do 4%, 6%, 8% every month. We have the supply chains figured out. We know what we can supply the states so we are much more sophisticated. The overall strategy is a strategy. It’s not a state-by-state plan. That’s what we’re doing individually with the states.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But it’s not just Senator Murray who has had this kind of criticism. You even have one of the president’s strongest allies, Former governor Chris Christie said the White House has or the president has to order the Defense Production Act to fix the supply chain and make sure every state has what it needs.

GIROIR: You know, I’m in the middle of this. Everyone who is commenting is really on the periphery. Let me tell you the ground truth. The ground truth is, for most circumstances the DPA is not necessary because there’s maximum production. All the industries are working together. On the supply chain related to testing, there will be a DPA action today but it’s not one of the forceful DPA actions but a hand up, its an investment in American industry that will greatly expand the testing we need, some of the testing supplies so that particularly by Fall when we may have COVID circulating with influenza and need drastically more tests than we have now will have the supplies that we need. But the DPA has been used selectively when it’s necessary but in most regards, certainly regarding testing, it’s really unnecessary, but the hand up, you will see, will be implemented as necessary.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I guess one of the big questions, is that hand up going to be enough? I know you’ve seen this report from the experts at Harvard who say that we’re going to need to really open the economy to get started, we’ll need to be testing 5 million people a day in June. Up to 20 million in July and that the guidelines you’ve laid out can’t get us anywhere near that.

GIROIR: So, we don’t believe those estimates are really accurate, nor are they reasonable in our society. What we’re talking about, the 2% number, let’s just put that in context. 2% per month is almost double the per capita rate that South Korea has achieved over the last four months accumulated. This is a massive amount of tests and in many states we are going to be doing 4%, 6%, 8% according to the state guidelines. We know for a fact that we can supply those states with the full supply chain, the swabs, the media, the testing capability to achieve those goals and, remember, particularly in the summer it’s not just about tests, because we can look at syndromes, there is no influenza circulating in the Summer so when someone comes in with an influenza like-illness, through the ILA network that is nationwide, we’ll have a good idea that person is likely COVID infected and can serve to that area so tests are absolutely important. They’re critical. They will be expanded dramatically as we reopen but it’s not the only tool we have in the toolbox.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I know you’re also working to dramatically expand the antibody test. Are you satisfied now with the quality of the tests that are going to be out in the states?

GIROIR: So, as we’ve stated many times, particularly the point of care antibody test could be fraught with inaccuracies. And that is why the National Cancer Institute along with the FDA and CDC are really running the full panels of these tests against what we believe is a gold standard. You’ll be seeing some of those results really soon. Many tests are just not up to par and some seem to be performing very, very well and that’s very, very important and it actually took a whole appendix in the blueprint we talked about yesterday about why having a very highly specific test particularly for an antibody to talk about immunity is really critically important so you’ll be seeing those results very soon.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Admiral Giroir, thank you very much for your time this morning.

GIROIR: You’re welcome.

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