Apr 25, 2020 - Health

Fauci: U.S. coronavirus testing numbers should soon double

Data: The COVID Tracking Project; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios
Data: The COVID Tracking Project; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Anthony Fauci said during a National Academy of Sciences webcast Saturday that the U.S. should be able to double the number of diagnostic tests for the novel coronavirus in the next few weeks.

Why it matters: The U.S. needs to "have enough tests to respond to the outbreaks that will inevitably occur as you try and ease your way back into the different phases," the key White House coronavirus task force member said. The number of COVID-19 tests conducted in the U.S. surpassed 5.1 million on Saturday.

What he's saying: Fauci noted the U.S. is testing roughly 1.5 million to 2 million people a week.

  • "We probably should get up to twice that as we get into the next several weeks, and I think we will," he said.
  • The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director noted that testing is an "important tool" in curbing the spread of the coronavirus, but "it's not the only part." "I don't want to get fixated on how many tests you need," he added, stressing the need for isolation, identification and contact tracing.

Zoom in: The COVID Tracking Project data shows coronavirus testing has been trending up this week.

  • Alabama, in particular, has reported a testing spike. The state reported Saturday over 18,649 tests, many more than its previous high this week of 3,881 on Thursday, per The COVID Tracking Project.
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