HHS Secretary Alex Azar: ‘We Don’t Know Exactly How Many’ People Have Been Tested for Coronavirus

HHS Secretary Alex Azar: ‘We Don’t Know Exactly How Many’ People Have Been Tested for Coronavirus

Secretary for Health and Human Services Alex Azar admitted to CNN’s John Berman on Tuesday that he doesn’t know how many people in the United States have been tested for Coronavirus. Speaking on CNN’s New Day, Azar gave estimates of the numbers tested for Covid-19.

“We don’t know exactly how many because hundreds of thousands of our tests have gone out to private labs and hospitals that currently do not report into CDC,” Azar said.

“We’re working with the CDC and those partners to get an I.T. reporting system up and running hopefully this week where we would be able to get that data to keep track of how many we’re testing. We think we’ve got throughput at the moment, probably 10,000 a day are – could be getting tested. By the end of the week, 20,000 a day according to study by AEI that I heard about. We’ve got now 2.1 million tests available and 1.1 million have shipped. We actually have a surplus at the moment that are awaiting orders to be shipped out to…”

“But you don’t – you don’t know? You honestly don’t know? You don’t know how many people have been tested?” Berman asked.

“Well, because a private vendor shipped,” Azar said. “Most of those 1.1 million that shipped were from a private vendor selling to their customers, and those entities that used their tests don’t have to report back to CDC, but we’re trying to set up a reporting system where they would, in fact, do that.”

The Atlantic has made a bunch of calls to some of these organizations, and they estimate about 4,300 tests – 4,300 people have been tested. Does that seem ballpark accurate to you?” Berman pressed.

“I just wouldn’t want to speculate. Listen, my hallmark here is I’m going to tell you what I know,” Azar said.

Watch the video above, via CNN/Twitter.

Darragh Roche

Darragh Roche

Darragh Roche is Political Media Editor