Multiple Trump administration officials failed to answer questions Sunday about when Americans can expect a website President Donald Trump touted last week to assist with the identification of coronavirus symptoms and locations of testing centers in the United States.
Trump said during a news conference Friday that Google was developing a website to help people check their symptoms and find functional testing locations. It turned out the site he was referring to was likely one being developed by Verily, which shares a parent company with Google. In a statement following Trump’s celebratory announcement, Verily said its site is “in the early stages of development” and that the company plans to roll it out for California’s Bay Area with the hope of expanding it beyond California “over time.”
Trump said during the news conference that the website would be done “very quickly.” Since then, Google executives have said they will work on a “national information website” in addition to Verily’s site. Trump seized on their announcement to falsely attack the media on Twitter.
On Sunday, however, administration officials still could not speak to what exactly that meant or what the timeline for such a project would be.
“I really don’t know,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told ABC News correspondent Jon Karl when he was asked Sunday when the website would be available.
Watch Mnuchin’s comments on ABC’s “This Week.”
During an appearance on “Fox News Sunday,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director for the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, also did not say when the website Trump mentioned would be built.
“Put aside the website and how it’s going to be fully operational,” Fauci, who is co-leading the Trump administration’s coronavirus response, told host Chris Wallace.
He turned instead to the availability of coronavirus tests, saying large corporations and health organizations are currently unable to scale up the testing capability in the United States.
“They’re telling us that it will be starting up in the next week or so,” Fauci said.
Fauci previously referred to insufficient coronavirus testing as a “failing.”
COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus that was first reported in China in late 2019, is thought to be 10 times deadlier than the flu, Fauci said last week. Many people carrying it are asymptomatic, and people over 60 years old are at higher risk for serious illness.
Watch a clip from Fauci’s appearance on “Fox News Sunday.”
After referring to the coronavirus as a “hoax” in February and dismissing its threat to Americans, Trump and his administration have tried to coordinate a belated response as states of emergency are declared across the nation. Trump declared a national emergency on Friday.
Millions of Americans have been advised to practice social distancing ― or self-imposed isolation ― to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The U.S. currently lags behind several countries, including South Korea and the United Kingdom, in testing its citizens.
Keep up with the latest updates on the coronavirus at our live blog.