Apr 27, 2020 - Health

Coronavirus testing increasing, but still not good enough

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

The good news is that the number of daily coronavirus tests is going up again. The bad news is that it's still not nearly enough for the country to safely reopen.

Why it matters: If we don't know who has the virus, we can't stop it from spreading without resorting to stringent social distancing measures.

Driving the news: On Saturday, Anthony Fauci said that the U.S. is testing roughly 1.5 million to 2 million people a week, but "we probably should get up to twice that as we get into the next several weeks, and I think we will."

  • Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus task force coordinator, said yesterday that "we have to realize that we have to have a breakthrough innovation in testing." She said we'll need tests that can detect antigen, or the part of a pathogen that triggers an immune response.

Between the lines: Testing has been hampered by shortages of supplies like swabs and test kits. There has also been a lack of coordination between labs with excess testing capacity and communities struggling to meet testing demand.

What we're watching: Some major cities and states — including New York and California — have begun to expand testing beyond the sickest patients, which is a good sign.

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