Jul 8, 2020 - Health

Coronavirus déjà vu sets in as testing issues rise and PPE dwindles

A worker in personal protective equipment (PPE) helps check in people at a COVID-19 testing center in Los Angeles, California. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

A worker helps check in people at a coronavirus testing center in Los Angeles. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

As most of the world's wealthy countries resume normal life with their coronavirus outbreaks under control, the U.S. is facing the same catastrophic problems that defined its early experience.

Why it matters: The longer the pandemic rages on, the more human lives it costs and economic devastation it causes.

The state of play: Testing is a problem again. Some hard-hit cities are cutting back on who can be tested because of overwhelming demand, NYT reports. Supply shortages and laboratory backlogs are once again contributing to the problem.

  • Personal protective equipment is running low again, AP reports, which puts health care workers at risk of being infected by the virus.
  • Hospitalizations are spiking, once again raising the possibility that the health system could become overwhelmed.

The bottom line: The U.S. has built up its public health infrastructure since the spring, but not enough. And these measures, even when fully functional, aren't designed to counteract uncontrolled spread — which is what several states are experiencing.

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