A US government watchdog gave a blunt review of the shortcomings in the government’s response to the pandemic yesterday that included the sending of nearly $1.4 billion (£1.1 billion) to deceased Americans, and the collection of incomplete and inconsistent virus-testing data.
The report issued by the Government Accountability Office marked the first review of the government’s response to the pandemic, and made recommendations to lawmakers how to improve the fight to come out of the crisis.
Some of its harshest criticism was reserved for the Small Business Administration (SBA), which oversees a $670 billion (£539 million) emergency loan program to help companies survive the pandemic, and the lack of a plan from the Department of Transportation to improve the aviation sector’s response to outbreaks.
Detailing its findings on the coronavirus testing data, the GAO said the data that was collected at times included antibody tests that detect prior infections, and sometimes included counts on the number of samples tested, which could include multiple tests for one person.
“The absence of complete and consistent Covid-19 testing data reported through May 31, 2020, has made it more difficult to track and know the infection rate, mitigate the effect of infections, and inform decisions on reopening communities,” the watchdog said.