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Photo: Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images

The U.S. will need to run 5 million tests a day by early June in order to safely lift social distancing measures, according to a new white paper by Harvard's Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, with support from the Rockefeller Foundation.

The state of play: That number will need to increase over the summer to about 20 million a day to fully reopen the economy, the authors argue.

Between the lines: We're nowhere near being able to complete this many tests a day, and yet parts of the country are already taking small steps back toward normalcy.

What they're saying: "The great value of this approach is that it will prevent cycles of opening up and shutting down," the white paper's authors write.

  • "If we rely on collective social distancing alone to tide us over until a vaccine is available, the economy will be shut down on and off for 12 to 18 months, costing trillions of dollars."
  • The widespread testing would need to be combined with contact tracing and isolation for those who have the coronavirus.

Go deeper: We're still behind on coronavirus testing

Go deeper

Updated Oct 7, 2020 - Health

World coronavirus updates

Expand chart
Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

New Zealand now has active no coronavirus cases in the community after the final six people linked to the Auckland cluster recovered, the country's Health Ministry confirmed in an email Wednesday.

The big picture: The country's second outbreak won't officially be declared closed until there have been "no new cases for two incubation periods," the ministry said. Auckland will join the rest of NZ in enjoying no domestic restrictions from late Wednesday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, declaring that NZ had "beat the virus again."

Arizona and Texas are getting better; California and Florida aren't

Expand chart
Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Map: Andrew Witherspoon, Danielle Alberti, Sara Wise/Axios

Coronavirus infections in the U.S. are beginning to decline, after a summer of sharp increases, and some of the hardest-hit states are improving significantly.

Yes, but: We're at the stage of this most recent outbreak in which deaths begin to spike. They're closing in on 150,000 and still rising.

Trump launches "Embers Strategy" in coronavirus hotspots

President Trump during a news conference on July 23. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The Trump administration is sending increased personal protective equipment, coronavirus test kits and top health officials like Drs. Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx to coronavirus hotspots across the U.S. as part of a campaign called the “Embers Strategy," White House officials tell Axios.

Why it matters: The push is part of a larger effort to show that President Trump is taking the pandemic seriously, something White House officials describe as a "renewed focus."