Sept. 28 (UPI) — President Donald Trump on Monday announced a plan to distribute 100 million rapid COVID-19 tests to states by the end of the year with the goal of helping schools resume in-person instruction.
Under the plan, state governors will be able to determine how they use the rapid antigen tests, which can produce results in 15 minutes, but Trump on Monday urged states to deploy them to schools.
“Given the extraordinary capacity that we have in testing today, we expressed hope to all the governors today that they would particularly use these Abbott tests to open up American schools and to keep them open,” he said.
A shipment of 6.5 million tests will be sent out this week, and the number of tests each state receives will be based on population data, officials said.
“The support my administration is providing would allow every state to, on a very regular basis, test every teacher who needs it,” Trump said.
The Trump administration purchased 150 million of the low-cost, rapid-response tests from Abbott Laboratories last month and has already sent millions to nursing homes, assisted living facilities, historically black colleges and universities, and areas affected by wildfires and hurricanes.
Monday’s announcement comes as the United States reported a total of 7.12 million cases and 204,800 deaths, with 36,900 cases — the lowest count in a week — and 266 deaths, one of its lowest death tolls since July.
Cases, however, surged in some areas. Montana, South Dakota, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming reported record numbers, and Alaska and North Dakota reported record deaths.