MSNBC science contributor Dr. Joseph Fair fact-checked Dr. Deborah Biorx — response coordinator for the White House Coronavirus Task Force — who claimed that the Trump administration had not acquired World Health Organization (WHO) coronavirus tests because they were giving “false positives” and “false negatives,” notes PBS reporter Yamiche Alcindor.
Amb Debbie Birx, the White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator, says the U.S. was slower at getting testing because they were focused on "quality." She says other tests used in other countries results in "false positives" and "false negatives" regarding coronavirus.— Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche) March 17, 2020
Dr. Fair explained how it was actually the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention test that were faulty:
What’s unfortunate, they did mention, the first tests, the WHO tests, as inaccurate. That’s actually the opposite of what happened. The reason the WHO didn’t offer us the test is because they only offer them for free to impoverished nations.
We have to buy them. And the tests that were out, that were inaccurate and [showed] false positives and false negatives as Dr. Birx mentioned were actually the CDC tests, not the commercial tests. So, that’s the opposite of actually what happened.
MSN backs up Dr. Fair’s statement:
While South Korea has run more than 35,000 coronavirus tests, the United States has tested only 426 people, not including people who returned on evacuation flights. Only about a dozen state and local laboratories can now run tests outside of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta because the CDC kits sent out nationwide earlier this month included a faulty component.