‘That’s Been Rectified’: Hannity’s Claim on Test Kit Access Contradicts Testimony of Dr. Fauci, Trump’s Own Health Expert
Sean Hannity boldly declared that the coronavirus test kit availability shortage that has plagued the White House’s response to the pandemic has been “rectified,” contradicting both widespread news reports and the Trump administration’s own public health expert.
During the opening of his Thursday night show, the Fox News host was careful to express concern about the spread of COVID-19, but quickly pivoted to a defense of President Donald Trump’s actions. In doing so, he briefly noted the widespread alarm over the slow rate of testing for the coronavirus — which has been much slower than other developed nations — and proclaimed that the problem has now been resolved.
“I understand the criticism, the testing kits took too long to come out. Fair criticism. That’s been rectified. Now they are becoming readily available,” Hannity asserted.
However, this claim is belied by numerous reports from across the country, where patients and doctors still complain about a shortage of test kits and ongoing bureaucratic snafus. In addition, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, had given a very different message to Congress just hours before Hannity’s show, calling the Trump administration’s ongoing struggle to roll out sufficient test kits a “failing.”
“The system is not really geared to what we need right now, what you are asking for. That is a failing,” Fauci admitted to Congress on Thursday, referring to test availiability. “It is a failing, let’s admit it. The fact is the way the system was set up is that the public health component that [CDC Director] Dr. [Robert] Redfield was talking about was a system where you put it out there in the public and a physician asks for it and you get it.”
In recent days, Fox News has come under increasing scrutiny and withering criticism from rival news institutions like CNN and the New York Times for “misleading the network’s audience” and aggressively playing down the threat, respectively, in defense of Trump.
Also, Hannity’s bold assertion was called into question later on his show by none other than Hannity himself, during his interview with HHS Secretary Alex Azar.
“The one criticism that seems valid is that we were slow, we didn’t have enough test kits available,” Hannity said before attributing his previous claim to Trump and asking for verification of it. “The president mentioned that has since been rectified: a) Is it rectified? and b) Why didn’t we have them more quickly?”
“The CDC invented a test within two weeks of China position the genetic sequence and we’ve developed the test and it’s been available and we had actually capacity at all times to do testing for people that needed to be tested,” Azar responded, despite the heavy criticism that tests have not been available. “But it has not worked as well as we would like. We have four and a half million tests out there. There are a surplus of tests out there, but the connection from the patient-doctor hospital to those lab tests and the labs has not been as seamless as we’d like.”
“When will every American that they want to test for their own peace of mind, when will that be available to anybody who wants it?” Hannity followed up, alluding to a totally false claim that the president made one week earlier. “When will it be available for everyone who wants it, anyplace, anytime?”
“It’s getting better and better every day,” Azar asserted, before offering a longer non-answer. “Getting the private sector involved and that’s going to make it a more seamless experience, but we are already seeing in Washington, Colorado, and Minnesota in New Rochelle, New York, drive-thru sampling so you can get sampled, this test will get sent away and get the result, we are making a more seamless experience each and every day.”
Azar’s dodge on the claim that Hannity had made at the top of his show did not go unnoticed, however.
Sean Hannity just asked HHS Secretary Azar when every American can get tested if they want. Azar did not answer the question. Americans need that answer right away.
— Joe Scarborough (@JoeNBC) March 13, 2020
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