Public Health School Deans, Public Citizen Demand Congress Push Widespread COVID-19 Testing, Tracing

Deans Call for Leadership to Use the Defense Production Act to Ramp Up Testing

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congress must pass legislation that requires the Trump administration to use the Defense Production Act to produce sufficient COVID-19 tests, Public Citizen and four public health school deans said today. The legislation also should provide funding for a substantially expanded program of testing and contact tracing to monitor and control the pandemic on a national scale.

The $75 billion included in the HEROES Act that is expected to pass the U.S. House of Representatives would be a welcome start, but the U.S. Senate and Trump administration must act rapidly as well, Public Citizen said.

The pandemic requires a much more robust national response, including the federal government prioritizing the production and deployment of tests on a massive scale, the deans and Public Citizen said. In addition, increased funding to health departments around the country is needed, said Perry N. Halkitis at Rutgers University, Laura A. Siminoff at Temple University, Craig H. Blakely at the University of Louisville and Donna K. Arnett at the University of Kentucky.

“Until an enormous national program of testing and contact tracing is fully funded and implemented, the ongoing varying attempts by states to reopen American businesses – even partially – are fatally flawed and pure folly,” said Dr. Michael Carome, director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group.

Read the deans’ statements here.

See Public Citizen’s full list of recommendations here