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Misleading: Gov. Hogan and South Korean COVID-19 Tests

Tracy Davenport Tracy Davenport
23rd November 2020
Misleading: Gov. Hogan and South Korean COVID-19 Tests
The majority of the original tests were used and are still in use (Getty Images).

The Claim

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan paid for flawed coronavirus tests from South Korea.

Emerging story

On November 22, 2020, President Trump tweeted that Maryland’s Governor Larry Hogan paid for flawed coronavirus tests from South Korea. His tweet was then retweeted over 28,000 times. 

Misbar’s Analysis

Misbar has discovered that on November 22, 2020, Breitbart.com ran a story reporting that coronavirus tests ordered by Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan in April from South Korea turned out to have been flawed, and were never used. President Trump then posted a link to the article, mocking the governor on social media for acquiring inaccurate tests. The attack from President Trump followed republican Gov. Hogan’s appearance on CNN saying that he is “embarrassed that more people” in the Republican Party haven’t spoken out against the Trump’s refusal to concede the 2020 election and ongoing legal actions to challenge the results according to the NYPost.com.  

The Breitbart article appears to be based on a WashingtonPost.com article released on November 20, 2020. According to the Washington Post article, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan spent $9.46 million in April to import 500,000 coronavirus tests from South Korea. But the tests turned out to be flawed and the state "quietly" paid the same South Korean company an additional $2.5 million for 500,000 replacement tests, the Post said. 

The Maryland Democrats were quick to respond to CBSnews.com. Maryland Democratic Party Chair Yvette Lewis released a statement following The Washington Post’s report, calling Hogan’s acquisition of the tests a “botched publicity stunt.”

However, according to Governor Hogan to Fox5DC: “The Washington Post report about ‘flawed’ South Korea tests was ‘false’.” In an early statement to MSNBC, Gov. Hogan pushed back and said: “The first batch of tests were not flawed, and they were used.” Hogan said, “The FDA changed the authorization on the tests, and then Maryland shifted to a “faster, upgraded test” that met the new standard.” WBAL.TV investigated and reported that about three quarters of the tests have been used at the state’s community based sites and nursing homes. 

Governor Hogan was overwhelmingly re-elected to a second four-year term, receiving the most votes of any Maryland gubernatorial candidate and becoming only the second Republican governor to be re-elected in the 242-year history of the state. Even as a republican in a democratic state, he enjoys one of the highest approval ratings in the U.S. and has frequently criticized President Trump for his lack of response to the pandemic. 

Overall, the claim is misleading. Some of the tests appeared to have been replaced with different tests that met newer standards, but the majority of the original tests obtained from South Korea were used and are still in use. 

Misbar’s Classification


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