Joe Biden has been spreading a lie that President Trump turned away COVID-19 tests from the World Health Organization.
According to Town Hall:
Frontrunner Joe Biden was particularly confident in his potential ability as a leader to combat the rapidly spreading illness, citing his experience as Vice President during the H1N1 and Ebola crises. Biden and rival Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) also had harsh words for President Trump, with Biden noting several times that the current administration refused diagnostic testing kits from the World Health Organization in January.
Biden claimed that at this time the United States under president Trump turned down offers of millions of kits from the WHO. This is false. “No discussions occurred between WHO and CDC about WHO providing COVID-19 tests to the United States,” said spokeswoman for the WHO Margaret Harris. “This is consistent with experience since the United States does not ordinarily rely on WHO for reagents or diagnostic tests because of sufficient domestic capacity.” The organization also asserted that its priority was to distribute testing kits to “countries with the weakest health systems.”
Testing in the United States was fraught with difficulty in large part due to the slow approval by the Food and Drug Administration to allow testing kits developed by private companies outside of the government controlled CDC to be used at a local or national level. Those FDA policies are consistent with the Obama Administration’s response to H1N1 and Ebola in 2009 and 2014 respectively.
Landt, who developed the test kit currently being distributed by the WHO, acknowledged that it was the sluggishness with which the U.S. embraced the private sector that slowed down testing. The CDC, Landt said, was simply unprepared for the rate at which the virus was spreading. “There are 10 companies in the U.S. who could have developed the tests for them,” he said. “Commercial companies will run to an opportunity like this.”
This will likely not go away as the 2020 election approaches and this becomes even bigger of a talking point.