Trump to use Defense Production Act to increase swab production amid coronavirus testing shortage


U.S. President Donald Trump attends the daily coronavirus disease task force briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., April 19, 2020.

Alexander Drago | Reuters

President Donald Trump announced on Sunday that he plans to use the Defense Production Act to increase the nation’s swab production by at least 20 million per month for coronavirus tests. 

Trump said the administration is close to finalizing a partnership with one manufacturer to produce an additional 10 million swabs per month for coronavirus test kits, which are used to collect specimens from a patient’s throat or nose. Trump said he is preparing to use the Defense Production Act on another manufacturer to increase its swab production by over 20 million per month. 

Trump did not disclose the names of the manufacturer. A spokesperson was not immediately available for comment. 

“We’ve had a little difficulty with one so we’re calling in, as in the past you know, we’re calling in the Defense Production Act and we’ll be getting swabs very easily,” Trump said. “Swabs are easy. Ventilators are hard.”

Trump’s announcement comes after some governors cited a lack of swabs and reagents as hampering their ability to conduct more coronavirus tests. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer told NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday that her state could triple the number of tests conducted if the key components were made available.

Whitmer called on the Trump to enact the Defense Production Act to ramp up swab and reagent production. 

“We don’t even have enough swabs believe it or not and we’re ramping that up,” Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, told CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday. “But, for the national level to say that we have what we need and really to have no guidance to the state levels is just irresponsible because we’re not there yet.”

At the White House press briefing Sunday, Trump said that the swabs were previously shipped to the states but some of them “don’t know where they are.” 

This is breaking news. Please check back later for updates. 


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