Trump relied on a rapid coronavirus test to keep the White House safe From COVID – that’s not what it was designed for
Donald Trump (Screen Grab)

They were warned.


President Donald Trump in late March touted a new rapid coronavirus test that produces a result within minutes. zHe called it a "whole new ballgame," and bragged that "normally, this approval process from the FDA would take ten months, and even longer but we did it in four weeks."

Trump quietly implemented it in the White House to protect himself from the coronavirus. Everyone coming near him would have to be tested. He claimed he was tested once a day. White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany accidentally admitted he was occasionally tested more than once a day. Reporters entering the White House had to be tested before being allowed entrance.

Even after President Trump tested positive last week and had to be hospitalized, his Chief Of Staff was walking around the White House, maskless (when  he should have been in quarantine.) Asked by reporters why he wasn't wearing a mask, Mark Meadows snarkily replied that he had been tested.

As it turns out, President Trump and his coronavirus testing czar, Admiral Brett Giroir, were relying on an Abbott Laboratories test that was designed for one purpose only: detect coronavirus in people who are showing symptoms, and only within the first seven days of those symptoms appearing.

It was not designed to prove someone is not infected – it was designed to prove someone already appearing to be was.

"Federal officials relied too heavily on the tests, then took the results for granted, experts say," The New York Times reports, calling it "an ill-conceived disease-prevention strategy," according to health experts.

The test is being used under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the FDA, meaning it has not been approved for general usage.

Trump, Giroir, and the White House ignored the instructions.

Any they had been warned.

Here's President Trump in May being asked if he was concerned about the Abbott test, after reports revealed its accuracy was about 85%:

"Abbott's a great test – it's a quick test. And it can always be very rapidly double-checked."

If it returns a false negative, who would know? Why "double-check" when it's giving you the expected result?

“It’s not being used for the intended purpose,” infectious disease epidemiologist Syra Madad told the Times. “So there will be potentially a lot of false negatives and false positives.”

And here's Trump's coronavirus czar, touting the test as recently as late August, for "off-label" use – meaning for use other than designed or indicated by the manufacturer.

He was insistent, but he was wrong.

Giroir's tweet "provoked confusion and ire from health experts and members of the public."

“No, no, no,” said Dr. Butler-Wu, who recalled her dismay on seeing the tweet. “You can’t just take a product and off-label it and assume it’s happy days.”

One week ago the Associated Press reported "President Donald Trump announced Monday that the federal government will begin distributing millions of rapid coronavirus tests to states this week and urged governors to use them to reopen schools for students in kindergarten through 12th grade."