After declaring a national emergency during a press conference Friday, President Donald Trump declined to take responsibility for the US’ persistent delays in shortages in administering tests for the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. 
The United States was far slower to produce test kits through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) than other countries, creating ongoing delays in getting the tests to state-level public health authorities and healthcare providers. 
There are currently over 1,800 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States, including 41 deaths. In the press conference, Trump followed nearly 20 states in declaring a state of emergency over the coronavirus outbreak. 
Not only has the US tested far fewer of its citizens per capita than other developed countries, but doctors and patients have expressed frustration at US patients not meeting the current CDC guidelines for testing or being able to get a test despite showing symptoms. 
The lag in testing has hampered the ability of state and local government authorities, healthcare providers, and regular Americans to fully capture the extentof the virus’ spread, which adversely impacts authorities’ abilities to manage the situation and take appropriate mitigatory action. 
In a Thursday appearance before Congress, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said: “The system is not really geared to what we need right now — what you are asking for…that is a failing. It is a failing. Let’s admit it.”
In the news conference on Friday, a reporter asked: “Dr. Fauci said earlier this week that the lag in testing was, in fact, a failing. Do you take responsibility for that, and when can you guarantee that every American who needs a test has a test?”
“Yeah, I don’t take responsibility at all because we were given a set of circumstances and we were given rules, regulations, and specifications from a different time that wasn’t meant for this kind of an event with the kind of numbers that we’re talking about,” Trump said. 
—BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) March 13, 2020
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