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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Atlantic said that it was only able to verify 1,895 people as having been tested for the coronavirus as of Friday morning in the U.S., about 10% of whom tested positive.

The big picture: "The figures we gathered suggest that the American response to the coronavirus and the disease it causes, COVID-19, has been shockingly sluggish, especially compared with that of other developed countries," The Atlantic writes Friday.

  • "The net effect of these choices is that the country’s true capacity for testing has not been made clear to its residents. This level of obfuscation is unexpected in the United States, which has long been a global leader in public-health transparency."
  • Tracking the number of people tested becomes more complex as the situation evolves. But, state officials may not have the capacity to track the data in a time of emergency, per The Atlantic.

Why it matters: Vice President Mike Pence promised Thursday that roughly 1.2 million tests will be available this week and another 4 million next week.

  • Even as the U.S. ramps up its testing efforts, local labs and officials are limited and can only test several thousand people a day — not the hundreds of thousands the White House has promised.
  • Most tests require two-specimens samples so "the top-line number of available tests should be cut in half. In other words, '1.5 million tests' should be able to test roughly 750,000 people," The Atlantic said.
"The CDC got this right with H1N1 and Zika, and produced huge quantities of test kits that went around the country. I don't know what went wrong this time."
— Thomas Frieden, former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tells The Atlantic

What they found: The Atlantic's investigation found that "disorder" came after the CDC decided not to publish state data.

  • Plus, not all states regularly update the information on how many people they tested and some were more focused on updating the number of confirmed cases.

How it works: The Atlantic interviewed dozens of public officials, surveyed local data and gathered data from individual state websites to determine the factors behind the number of people being tested. They found...

  • The availability of the tests is limited, the capacity to test varies greatly per state, and labs have to be trained on how to execute the tests.
  • The CDC sets the parameters on determining which people local health officials should be testing, and those guidelines have been quite strict.

What's next: The Food and Drug Administration relaxed some regulations on the types of coronavirus tests that can be used, and that will likely increase testing capacity, per The Atlantic.

Of note: The CDC and the White House did not respond to Axios' queries before publication.

Go deeper: Coronavirus updates: Global infections top 100,000

Go deeper

Biden: "Being a cop today is one hell of a lot harder than it's ever been"

President Biden speaks during the 40th Annual National Peace Officers Memorial Service at the U.S Capitolon Oct. 16. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden speaking at the U.S. Capitol on Saturday honored members of law enforcement who died in the line of duty in 2019 and 2021 and saluted those who are currently serving.

Driving the news: "We expect everything of you, and it's beyond the capacity of anyone to meet the total expectations. Being a cop today is one hell of a lot harder than it's ever been," Biden said.

Updated 5 hours ago - World

Islamic State claims responsibility for deadly bombing in southern Afghanistan

The mosque after the explosion in southern Kandahar province on Oct. 15. Photo: Murteza Khaliqi/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for a massive blast that tore through a crowded Shiite mosque in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar on Friday, killing at least 47 people and injuring dozens more, AP reports.

Why it matters: Friday's attack was the deadliest to strike Afghanistan since the U.S. withdrew its troops from the region and is the second major attack on a Shiite mosque in a week, underscoring the Taliban's growing security threat from other militant groups.

New wave of strikes will test worker power

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Thousands of John Deere workers hit the picket line this week after the union smacked down a new worker contract from the farm and equipment maker.

Why it matters: There’s a wave of worker angst spreading across the country. They wield new power that’s come with a historic worker shortage.

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