Fox News medical correspondent Dr. Marc Siegel called Thursday for the immediate provision of coronavirus testing kits in order to examine people who show symptoms of exposure, adding that the U.S. response to the outbreak has not matched other countries.
"We don't know how many cases we have ... we suspect thousands, but technically we only have confirmed a little over 1,100," Siegel told "Tucker Carlson Tonight". "In South Korea, they are testing 20,000 people a day. They know exactly how many cases they have and they are busy giving them giving different antivirals ... and starting to slow the spread. That's what we should be doing,"
Hours earlier, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the U.S. was "not set up" to provide public accessibility to test kits "the way people in other countries are doing it," admitting that the U.S. should be better equipped, "but we're not."
Siegel.said physicians have to meet a "certain criteria" to order the tests, forcing patients to go to a hospital where they can infect others and further spread the highly contagious virus.
"I do not want to meet the criteria," he said. "I want to test anybody who could come in contact with someone. With HIV, I can test anybody, right? I should have the ability to calm fears by telling somebody they are negative, but I cannot."
"If they go to the hospital -- and we tell people not to go to the hospital -- and they get put in a special area, a respiratory unit with other people who might have coronavirus, you can spread it that way," he added.
Vice President Mike Pence said on Wednesday that the Trump administration is trying to make every effort to get the testing kits available throughout the United States and directed anyone with concerns to call their doctor, who can request a test from a state lab.
"We've been told the tests are on the way, the tests are in the mail, the tests are being delivered and I keep checking ... and we are not getting answers that they are there and available yet," Siegel said.
"It's time we step up to the plate and do what South Korea is doing. How about 20,000 tests per day? That'll make the people feel comfortable with the situation," he concluded.
"Look, if we're going to close the schools [and do] all the things we are doing, it's nice to know how much coronavirus is really around."