Coronavirus: AOC says 'wealthy and powerful' getting faster access to Covid-19 tests

'It almost seems like the more wealthy and powerful you are, the more able you are to access a test'

Graig Graziosi
Friday 13 March 2020 15:34 EDT
AOC points out 'rich' and 'powerful' seem to be getting coronavirus testing while average Americans can't

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez used an appearance on Fox News Thursday to point out that while average Americans struggle to get testing for coronavirus, it seems rich and influential people haven’t had any issue at all.

“It almost seems like the more wealthy and powerful you are, the more able you are to access a test,” she said. “But the rougher the road you’ve got here, the more difficult it will be to access healthcare. That’s exactly the recipe for a disaster in a pandemic.”

Actors Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson have tested positive for coronavirus, and numerous NBA players and staff received tests after Utah Jazz players Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert were tested for the virus. The mayor of Miami also tested positive.

Those are just the individuals whose tests are publicly known. It’s unknown how many Americans have been able to secure testing, but there are numerous cases of Americans claiming that they’ve been refused testing despite showing symptoms of the virus.

Ms Ocasio-Cortez was criticising the US response to the outbreak, comparing it to South Korea’s, where testing has been far more aggressive, with up to 10,000 people per day being screened.

“They’ve been able to provide tests to any single person that wants it, and here people are scrambling,” she said.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar claims that the US will be able to test 10,000 to 20,000 people per day by the end of the week, but Dr Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health appears to doubt that claim.

“The system is not really geared to what we need right now, what you’re asking. That is a failing. A failing. It is a failing. Let’s admit it. The fact is, the way the system was set up is that the public health component ... was a system where you put it out there in the public and the physicians ask for it and you get it,” Mr Fauci said. “The idea of anybody getting it easily, the way people in other countries are doing it, we’re not set up for that. Do I think we should be? Yes. But we’re not.”

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who Ms Ocasio-Cortez has been campaigning for during the 2020 Democratic primary, has made universal public health funding through a Medicare for All program a central platform of his presidential campaign.

In an address to the nation regarding the pandemic, Mr Sanders called for an “immediate moratorium on evictions, on foreclosures and on utility shut-offs so that no one loses their home during this crisis, and that everyone has access to clean water, electricity, heat and air conditioning.”

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