Pence: ‘Any American can be tested’ for coronavirus

The announcement follows numerous complaints by citizens

Vice President Mike Pence speaks during a news conference with President Donald Trump on coronavirus in the press briefing room at the White House, Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Vice President Mike Pence on Tuesday evening said that "any American can be tested" for the novel coronavirus, as the Trump administration struggled to clear up confusion and mixed signals over testing amid concerns that tests were not being made available soon enough.

Pence said in an off-camera briefing at the White House that there was new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control that any American could be tested -- "no restrictions, subject to doctors' orders." The announcement follows numerous complaints of citizens asking to be tested and turned away due to the strict CDC testing criteria. Pence said the new guidance will make clear "that any clinician or health authority can administer the test."

The change was announced after confusion over how quickly the US could ramp up testing for roughly 1 million people for coronavirus. After suggesting Monday that the US would be able to test close to 1 million people for coronavirus by the end of the week, the Trump administration has since clarified -- creating more confusion among frustrated people eager to protect themselves against the virus.

CNN has reached out to the CDC for comment on whether the agency's online guidance will be updated to reflect the vice president's remarks.

During a Senate hearing Tuesday, FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn was greeted by skeptical lawmakers and pushed to explain how he thinks the United States could do a million tests when, to date, it has only been able to perform about 3,600 tests.

"I want to distinguish between the ability to get the test kits out to the laboratories with the ability of the labs to actually do the tests," Hahn told lawmakers, offering no clarity on how many tests could actually be run by the end of the week.

This was among a number of government missteps that has left Americans scared and confused about how to protect themselves during the viral outbreak. Outside of US borders, countries debilitated by the virus have seen advancements in the testing process. In South Korea, there's a drive-through testing site that officials say is safer because there is "less-face-to-face" contact, and in some countries in Europe, thousands of tests are being run daily.

Yet on American soil, a botched roll out of CDC testing, combined with what some health officials now believe was too-strict criteria on who could be tested, caused a delay in testing that some health officials are increasingly concerned about.