Adm. Brett Giroir Talks to Dr. Sanjay Gupta; Trump Acknowledged Dangers of Coronavirus to Woodward Even as He Continued to Downplay Risks Publicly

Thursday, September 10, 2020

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: -- months for you. And you are the unofficial sort of testing czar in the country.

So let me just say that this is Research America. So I spent the last couple of weeks gathering the research and evidence to help inform this interview.

And I would like to start with that hand something that's been in the news lately, just really about the importance of testing. As you probably know, the World Health Organization saying testing is the key to halting a pandemic.

But we've also heard from the president recently in Bob Woodward's new book where he says he wants to downplay things. He talked about the fact that testing, doing more testing would make us look bad.

How has that translated to your role?

ADM. BRETT GIROIR, ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR HEALTH, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES: So I thank you also for the opportunity to be here. Research America is such an important organization. And, of course, research is the foundation of everything that we do and all that we're really achieving.

Testing is a very important part of combating the virus. And we've said this all along. It's smart policies with smart testing that really go hand in hand.

What we've tried to do is build a testing ecosystem that provides the right test to the right person at the right time. Now when we started -- I came here March 12th. I think it's very

important for people, particularly in this audience, to understand that diagnostics were not emphasized at all.

The national stockpile, it's not a Trump administration. It's not an Obama administration. It's been a long-standing practice that diagnostics were really not emphasized. I think we see the importance of them now.

I have never been told to slow down testing or to reduce our efforts. In fact, we built on testing every single month.

And I think where we are right now is really an infliction point. And I know you'll get into that, is we're now at a point in time that all the investments in research that we've done over the past few months and indeed over the past few years, we're representing those benefits now with point-of-care testing.

This month, we should have the availability of over 100 million tests. And between 55 percent and 60 percent of those, 55 million to 60 million, will be rapid point of care.

This really puts us as an infliction point that we can protect the elderly and protect the vulnerable and we can do the screening testing for schools and work that we've opinion talking about for months. Now we have the tools to do that.

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