Aug 20, 2020 - Health

Many Americans still don't have coronavirus testing access

Illustration of gloved hand holding test tube with checkmarks
Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Even after months of building up testing capacity, more than 67 million Americans — or 20% of the population — live far away from a coronavirus testing site, according to a new analysis by GoodRx.

Why it matters: The spread of the virus makes it clear that nowhere is immune from it, and the only way to stop its spread is to know who has it.

Details: The millions of Americans who live in "testing deserts," defined by GoodRx as a census tract that is at least 10 miles away from a testing center, live in both metropolitan and non-metropolitan areas an average of 22 miles from the nearest testing site.

  • The states with the largest number of testing deserts are Texas, Ohio and Michigan. They're more common in low-income counties compared to wealthier ones.
  • As of July 13, two-thirds of counties don't have any testing sites.

Between the lines: Within testing deserts, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders, along with American Indians and Alaskan Natives, tend to live furthest away from test sites.

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