On June 25, one day after it was reported that the Trump administration is planning to end federal funding for 13 COVID-19 testing sites across the country, the topic was difficult to find on cable news morning shows, even though the pandemic is worsening in major states including Arizona, Texas, and Florida.
MSNBC’s Morning Joe featured two segments with discussion of the funding rollback, including the fact that Sen. John Cornyn (TX) -- “a pretty reliable Republican ally of the president” -- spoke up against the end of federal funding for these test sites. Co-host Willie Geist remarked that “when a Republican senator actually speaks up and crosses Donald Trump, that's when you know it's serious,” but Trump “continues to wish [the pandemic] away.”
CNN’s New Day did discuss testing, notably in the context of pushing back against Trump’s misleading claim that cases are rising because testing is so successful, but the defunding of 13 testing sites was not mentioned. Fox News’ Fox & Friends had some passing mentions of coronavirus testing, but none mentioned the 13 testing sites that will be defunded.
Meanwhile, the coronavirus pandemic is greeting dramatically worse in several states, such as Arizona. And according to The New York Times, testing in Arizona remains as fragmented and bottlenecked as it was in the early days of the pandemic, even though the state now sees as many as thousands of new cases per day. Health care systems in Arizona and elsewhere are overwhelmed with both the volume of people seeking tests and the number of tests that need to be processed. The Times reported that “some labs have seen their demand [for coronavirus tests] double or triple in a matter of days,” and “no coordinating entity exists to help overwhelmed labs find extra capacity elsewhere.”