Former CDC director Tom Frieden said on "Fox News Sunday" that the total number of coronavirus tests administered is "useless" if the results are delayed, and that a better metric is how many tests have been done that come back within 24 to 48 hours.

Why it matters: The Trump administration's testing coordinator Adm. Brett Giroir said Sunday that the average turnaround time for coronavirus test results in the U.S. is 4.27 days, and that this figure has increased because of massive demand.

  • This makes it difficult to trace and isolated infected people, a key practice for containing the spread of the virus that other countries like South Korea have mastered.
  • The U.S. has administered over 50 million coronavirus tests in total, but the virus has continued to spread at severe levels. There are over 4.1 million confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S., according to Johns Hopkins University.

What he's saying: "Everyone in this country should be able to know very easily what's the risk in my community and how well is my community doing bringing that risk down so I and my family can be safe."

  • "To do that, we need simple things like — not how many tests are being done, that's a useless number. How many tests are being done that come back within 24 and 48 hours? That's important."
  • "And we need to know things like of the cases diagnosed today, how many of them were isolated within 48 hours, 72 hours, because that's how you stop the chain of transmission."
  • "That's how other countries are getting a handle on the pandemic. And we can do that here also, but we need to be on the same page."

Go deeper: Why coronavirus contact tracing is failing

Go deeper

Oct 21, 2020 - World

Spain becomes first nation in Western Europe to exceed 1 million COVID-19 cases

Photo: Miquel Benitez/Getty Images

Spain exceeded 1 million confirmed coronavirus cases on Wednesday, becoming the first country in Western Europe to hit the milestone, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

The state of play: Spain, which reported 16,973 cases over the previous 24 hours, was one of the most affected countries when the pandemic started, and cases have been on the rise since September, according to NPR.

Oct 21, 2020 - Health

CDC changes "close contact" guidance for COVID-19

Photo Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Noam Galai, Jamie McCarthy, Josep LAGO / AFP, Alfredo ESTRELLA / AFP, and Narayan Maharjan/NurPhoto, all via Getty Images

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention expanded its definition of who is considered a “close contact” of an individual infected with the coronavirus in a report released Wednesday.

Why it matters: The update is likely to pose challenges for schools, workplaces and other group settings as the U.S. prepares for a third coronavirus wave. It also reinforces the importance of masks in the face of President Trump’s repeated attempts to belittle their efficacy.

Oct 21, 2020 - Economy & Business

Boeing research shows disinfectants kill virus on airplanes

Electrostatic spraying of disinfectant. Photo: Delta Air Lines

Boeing and researchers at the University of Arizona say their experiment with a live virus on an unoccupied airplane proves that the cleaning methods currently used by airlines are effective in destroying the virus that causes COVID-19.

Why it matters: Deep cleaning aircraft between flights is one of many tactics the airline industry is using to try to restore public confidence in flying during the pandemic. The researchers say their study proves there is virtually no risk of transmission from touching objects including armrests, tray tables, overhead bins or lavatory handles on a plane.

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