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President Donald Trump is expected to hold a news conference at the White House on Monday to announce updates on coronavirus testing.
He is expected to say that his administration is prepared to send enough testing materials to every state in the country to screen at least 2% of U.S. residents, according to the Wall Street Journal.
About 1.6% of Americans have been tested, the Journal reported, citing the COVID Tracking Project.
Testing has been spotty in the U.S., and many business leaders have warned that it must ramp up dramatically for the shuttered economy to reopen in earnest.
The news conference, to be held in the Rose Garden, appears to replace the daily coronavirus task force briefing, which had been scheduled for the same time Monday.
Several industry executives were expected to attend a White House briefing prior to the Rose Garden event, including Walgreens President Richard Ashworth, Rite-Aid CEO Heyward Donigan, CVS CEO Larry Merlo and Walmart CEO Doug McMillon.
Over the weekend, Trump weighed whether to continue holding the briefings. He ended Friday’s session without taking questions for the first time in weeks, after having been the subject of criticism from members of his own party for his dangerous and unfounded speculation about whether injecting disinfectants can help to treat Covid-19.
At the Friday task force briefing, Trump tried to walk back those comments. “I was asking a question sarcastically to reporters like you just to see what would happen,” Trump said. He added that it was a “very sarcastic question to the reporters in the room about disinfectant on the inside.”
As Trump weighs the prospect of eliminating briefings, the coronavirus continues to have devastating effects.
At least 21 countries are reporting vaccine shortages as a result of travel restrictions meant to curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Monday. “The tragic reality is children will die as a result.”
The outbreak has spread to dozens of countries globally, with more than 3 million confirmed cases worldwide and over 208,131 deaths so far, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. There are at least 972,900 cases in the United States and at least 55,118 deaths, according to the latest tallies.
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