WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — President Donald Trump announced Monday that the federal government will begin distributing millions of rapid coronavirus tests to states this week and urged governors to use them to reopen schools for students in kindergarten through 12th grade.
The tests will go out to states based on their population and can be used as governors see fit, but the administration encouraged states to place a priority on schools. A senior administration official with knowledge of the plans told The Associated Press that 6.5 million tests will go out this week and that a total of 100 million tests will be distributed to governors over the next several weeks.
The tests will come from a previously announced supply of 150 million ordered from Abbott Laboratories, the official told AP. The company’s rapid test, the size of a credit card, is the first that does not require specialty computer equipment to process. It delivers results in about 15 minutes.
Rapid, convenient testing is considered essential to reopening the U.S. economy, but tests like Abbott’s have their own downsides. They are less accurate, and positive results often need to be confirmed with higher-grade lab tests.
The coronavirus pandemic has killed more than 200,000 Americans, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.