Congressman says he couldn't get coronavirus test despite Trump claim that 'anyone' can


Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) could not get a coronavirus test after he had dinner with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.

Coronavirus tests are so scarce that a Virginia congressman was unable to be tested even though he came into contact with someone who tested positive.

His experience directly contradicts claims made by Donald Trump and others about the ease at which people can access coronavirus tests.

Beyer requested a coronavirus test from doctors at the House of Representatives "and they said no," he told CNN on Thursday afternoon.

He said doctors denied the request because he "wasn't symptomatic, there weren't enough tests to use on me."

Beyer criticized the Trump administration's handling of the outbreak, noting that Vice President Mike Pence broke a promise to deliver coronavirus tests across the country.

"Vice President Pence last week promised us a million tests by the end of last week, and as of yesterday morning, the head of the CDC said we're only up to 75,000," Beyer said. "The president said something interesting last night: That everybody who needs a test, gets a test."

Beyer's experience proved Trump wrong.

Beyer emphasized that more testing is necessary in order to identify those who have been exposed to the virus but are not symptomatic, in order to slow down the spread of the outbreak throughout communities.

Beyer added that there were "so few tests in play at the moment" that doctors are only using them for patients who show symptoms.

According to a March 10 statement from his office, Beyer decided to self-quarantine after the Virginia Department of Health notified him that someone he recently had dinner with had tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

During a March 6 visit to the Centers on Disease Control and Prevention, Trump said that "anyone who wants a test can get a test." His statement was soon contradicted by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, who said people "may not get a test unless a doctor or public health official prescribes a test."

On Thursday, Trump campaign spokesperson Kayleigh McEnany claimed a million coronavirus tests have been sent around the country, but a nationwide investigation by the Atlantic found less than 10,000 tests had been administered as of Thursday afternoon.

During television interviews Thursday morning, Pence struggled to answer questions about coronavirus testing.

When asked how many tests had been administered around the country, Pence, who heads the Trump administration's response to the coronavirus, did not know and said he would "leave that to the experts."

The New York Times reported that more than 1,400 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, were confirmed as of Thursday, and 38 people have died.

On Thursday afternoon, Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA) convinced the director of the CDC to use his authority to ensure all Americans can be tested for coronavirus, free of charge, whether or not they have health insurance.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.