Apr 27, 2020 - Health

Coronavirus testing increasing, but still not good enough

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
Data: The COVID Tracking Project; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The good news is that the number of daily coronavirus tests is going up again. The bad news is that it's still not nearly enough for the country to safely reopen.

Why it matters: If we don't know who has the virus, we can't stop it from spreading without resorting to stringent social distancing measures.

Driving the news: On Saturday, Anthony Fauci said that the U.S. is testing roughly 1.5 million to 2 million people a week, but "we probably should get up to twice that as we get into the next several weeks, and I think we will."

  • Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus task force coordinator, said yesterday that "we have to realize that we have to have a breakthrough innovation in testing." She said we'll need tests that can detect antigen, or the part of a pathogen that triggers an immune response.

Between the lines: Testing has been hampered by shortages of supplies like swabs and test kits. There has also been a lack of coordination between labs with excess testing capacity and communities struggling to meet testing demand.

What we're watching: Some major cities and states — including New York and California — have begun to expand testing beyond the sickest patients, which is a good sign.

Go deeper

17 hours ago - Health

Coronavirus diagnostic test pricing is relatively tame

A medical professional administers a coronavirus test at a drive-thru testing site run by George Washington University Hospital in Washington, D.C. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Anecdotes of labs charging thousands of dollars for coronavirus diagnostic tests are the exception rather than the rule, according to data provided to Axios by a national health insurer.

Yes, but: Some labs that don’t contract with the insurer charged rates that are multiple times higher than what Medicare pays for the diagnostic tests, and in some scenarios, patients may be at risk of receiving surprise bills.

Unemployment rate falls to 13.3% in May

Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Axios Visuals

The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 13.3% in May, with 2.5 million jobs gained, the government said on Friday.

Why it matters: The far better-than-expected numbers show a surprising improvement in the job market, which has been devastated by the coronavirus pandemic.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 6,724.516 — Total deaths: 394,018 — Total recoveries — 2,996,832Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 1,894,753 — Total deaths: 109,042 — Total recoveries: 491,706 — Total tested: 19,231,444Map.
  3. Public health: WHCA president says White House violated social-distancing guidelines to make reporters "a prop" — Jailing practices contribute to spread.
  4. Sports: How coronavirus could reshuffle the sports calendar.
  5. Jobs: Better-than-expected jobs report boosts stock market.
  6. Media: The Athletic lays off 8% of staff, implements company-wide pay cut.