The White House is joining forces with the nation’s pharmacies — including CVS, Walgreens and Walmart locally — to test millions of Americans as the nation “hungers” to get back to work.

CVS said they will “dramatically” increase testing — including in minority communities — in Massachusetts and Rhode Island to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

“We continue to see encouraging signs of progress. Cases in the New York area, New Orleans, Detroit, Boston and Houston are declining,” Trump said at a Rose Garden press conference Monday announcing the public-private testing partnership.

The president’s announcement came as Gov. Charlie Baker said the outbreak in Massachusetts appears to be hitting a plateau, with 104 new deaths reported Monday.

In an announcement to the Herald in conjunction with the press conference, CVS said they will offer “self-swab” tests to those who meet Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria beginning in May and will use mobile testing to reach minority groups.

“Testing will be scheduled online and take place at select CVS Pharmacy locations in parking lots or at drive-thru windows; no testing will take place in-store,” the chain said.

“The company expects to have up to 1,000 locations across the country offering this service by the end of May, with the goal of processing up to 1.5 million tests per month subject to availability of supplies and lab capacity,” CVS added.

CEOs from Walgreens, Walmart, RiteAid, Quest and others all took turns at the podium outside the White House to pledge they will be ready to ramp up testing to help open up the economy.

“We have the most testing and best testing by far,” Trump said, acknowledging robust testing will be needed to contain any further outbreaks. “We need to get this plague over with and over with fast. … this country hungers to get back to work.”

Dr. Deborah Birx, White House Coronavirus Task Force coordinator, said the key to dropping the stay-at-home directives is to test, identify all new cases and isolate those who are infected.

After a weekend of no task force updates, Trump took to the podium where he brushed off questions of speculation he’s going to fire Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar and that his comments about injecting cleaning products to fight COVID-19 were taken seriously.

He did take direct aim at China, saying “we are not happy with China” and that the U.S. government is doing “serious investigations.” He did not share any intel, but did say if it was negligence or worse, the Chinese government moved too slowly and the world is paying the price.

As for the Nov. 3 presidential election vs. Joe Biden, Trump said: “I look forward to that election.”


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