Jul 15, 2020 - Health

Coronavirus testing is again overwhelmed by massive U.S. caseload

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

The U.S. is doing almost as much testing as experts had predicted we'd need, and it's still far from enough given our enormous caseload — which the experts hadn't accounted for.

Driving the news: "In light of the ongoing spread of COVID-19 in states across the country, many labs are now receiving more test orders than they are able to process in a single day. We have urged ordering providers to prioritize testing for those most in need, especially hospitalized and symptomatic patients," Julie Khani, president of the American Clinical Laboratory Association, said in a statement Tuesday

The bottom line: That means we're nearly back to where we started in March, when tests were limited to the sickest patients.

  • The point of building up testing capacity wasn't so that we could keep track of how many times states set new caseload records. It was so that we'd have information about the spread of the virus, and then act accordingly to stop it.
  • As cases began to rise last month, we failed to act accordingly.
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