Trump administration still struggling to ramp up coronavirus testing

Nearly a week after the first U.S. coronavirus death was announced, the Trump administration scrambled Friday to meet its target for increasing the number of people able to be tested. But it still could take weeks for the actual tests to take place.

HHS Secretary Alex Azar told reporters that the government had shipped out materials for 700,000 coronavirus tests — well short of the 1.5 million that Vice President Mike Pence had said would be available to hospitals this week, in remarks on Wednesday. Late Friday, Assistant Secretary for Health Brett Giroir told POLITICO that more tests passed quality checks, bringing the total ready to 1.5 million.

The Trump administration is struggling to provide a clear picture of how many people are being tested for the coronavirus. Conflicting, and sometimes misleading, statements by top officials have fueled confusion over how many samples labs are processing, and how quickly that number could grow.