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April 27, 2020 2:30 PM, EDT

Trump, Retailers Set to Announce Expanded Coronavirus Testing

A nurse practitioner places a swab inside a test tub after swabbing a patient at a COVID-19 testing center in Brooklyn, New York, on April 20.A nurse practitioner places a swab inside a test tub after swabbing a patient at a COVID-19 testing center in Brooklyn, New York, on April 20. (Michael Nagle/Bloomberg News)

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President Donald Trump and retailers are expected to announce wider availability of coronavirus tests as his administration seeks to address concerns from states and business leaders that U.S. testing must be more robust for Americans to feel comfortable returning to work.

The president is scheduled to make the announcement April 27 in a meeting with retail executives, according to two people familiar with the matter. They asked not to be identified because the details aren’t public.

In pushing to start reopening the country, the White House has fielded broad concerns from business leaders and states that the U.S. doesn’t have sufficient testing to relent on social-distancing practices that have crippled the economy.

It isn’t clear whether the president will address shortages of materials needed to expand testing, including swabs to collect samples and chemical media to transport them to labs.

The new coronavirus has sickened more than 968,000 Americans and killed nearly 55,000 as of April 27. The U.S. has performed more than 5.4 million coronavirus tests so far, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Trump praised executives from Walmart Inc., Target Corp., CVS Health Corp. and Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. in a March 13 news conference, saying they had agreed to set up testing facilities in their parking lots. But only a handful of locations opened within the first month of Trump’s announcement, leading to criticism of the president for overpromising on the initiative.

More of the testing sites are beginning to open.

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