Several of the largest corporations in the United States are working together with the government to soon offer large-scale testing for the Wuhan coronavirus across the nation, according to details released during a press briefing at the White House on Friday.
Approximately 1,700 engineers at Google are developing a screening website which would allow users to enter their symptoms and, if necessary, provide them with a local drive-thru location for rapid testing.
Walmart, Walgreens, Target, and CVS have agreed to allow for parts of their parking lots across the nation to be used as drive-thru testing sites.
LabCorp and Quest, the nation’s largest clinical laboratory companies in the United States, will be ready to process a high volume of tests within 24 to 36 hours.
And Roche, a Swiss pharmaceutical giant, has received the fastest regulatory approval for a new coronavirus test and will make 500,000 kits available. President Donald Trump said millions of tests can be made available in the near future.
Trump marshaled the private sector to step into the fight against the coronavirus, according to Vice President Mike Pence. Trump issued the order to bring the private sector into the battle immediately after he appointed Pence to lead the White House coronavirus task force.
“I trust that people around the country are looking on at this extraordinary public and private partnership to address the issue of testing with particular inspiration,” Pence said.
The Google website where people can input their symptoms to find out if they should be tested will be available as soon as this Sunday, according to Pence. The vice president thanked the large retailers who are offering parts of their parking lots to the testing efforts.
Trump rolled out the details of the private-sector effort at a press conference during which he announced a national emergency over the coronavirus pandemic. The president said he will use the emergency powers to cut the red tape hampering the rapid response to the spread of the disease.
The president also announced that he is suspending interest being charged on federal student loans, barring all non-essential visits to nursing homes for the elderly, and banning entry to travelers who have visited mainland Europe in the last 14 days. The Europe travel restriction does not apply to U.S. citizens and permanent residents.
Trump and Pence thanked the leaders of the private-sector companies, several of whom were in attendance during the White House briefing.
“When we got the call yesterday from the White House we were eager to do our part to help serve the country and, given what we’re facing, that’s certainly important to do,” said Doug McMillon, Chief Executive Officer of Walmart.