Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), the top Democrat on the Senate health committee, joined Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), and Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) to outline Democrats’ new proposal to address the Trump Administration’s failure to rapidly expand testing capacity for COVID-19 in Washington state and across the country.
On a press call, Senator Murray and her colleagues discussed a series of steps outlined in a new policy white paper released by Senator Murray, “A Roadmap to Reopening by Ensuring a Speedy and Ubiquitous Lab Testing System (RESULTS).” Senator Murray and her colleagues also discussed a new Democratic Policy and Communications Committee report which details how the U.S. is lagging behind other countries in testing due to the Trump Administration’s failures.
“Public health experts have made clear we will need to do hundreds of millions of tests if we want to reduce social distancing and safely get people back to work, back to school, and back to some semblance of normal life. For that to happen, we need testing to be fast, free, and everywhere,” said Senator Murray. “Unfortunately, the Trump Administration’s early delays and missteps put us way behind, and because of their continued lack of urgency and leadership—we still have a lot of catching up to do. That’s why Democrats are releasing a roadmap to get COVID-19 testing back on track—fast. These ideas should be bipartisan, and they should be put into action as soon as possible—our country cannot wait.”
The Roadmap to RESULTS outlined by the Democratic Senators includes:
- Requiring a strategic plan to leverage a “whole of society” response;
- Emergency funding to enable rapid scaling of testing and the full range of activities that support testing and maximize its impact;
- Pipeline to develop, validate, and allocate accurate, reliable tests to ensure adequate supply;
- Structures to administer tests in every community across the country;
- Robust public health infrastructure to respond to results and better contain COVID-19; and
- Transparency and accountability across the testing system.
The DPCC report details how the United States is drastically behind in testing compared to other countries. The report outlines how testing saves lives by giving health care professionals the information they need to prioritize treatment for those who need it most and manage scarce clinical resources, including personal protective equipment.
Testing also keeps our essential workers safer by indicating who should stay home and who can keep working.