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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Americans are once again waiting in long lines for coronavirus tests — sometimes being turned away — and then waiting several days for their test results, the Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: This makes it much harder to know who has the virus and thus stop its spread, especially as the holidays approach. The longer someone has to wait for test results, the less likely it is that they'll remain in isolation until they receive them.

The big picture: Demand for tests has risen along with the spike in cases around the country, and many communities are struggling to keep up.

  • "The demand is exploding across the board," Kevin Jaques, spokesperson for the Illinois State COVID-19 Testing Project, told the Post. "The labs we're working with have asked us to cap the number we do because they can't process them quickly enough anymore to meet the 72-hour turnaround."

The bottom line: Testing is an important tool, but only if it influences human behavior. That tool is becoming less useful just as the country seems to have reached new levels of pandemic fatigue.

Go deeper

Operation Warp Speed leader: COVID vaccine push is "isolated from a political environment"

Moncef Slaoui in the Rose Garden on Nov. 13. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Moncef Slaoui, the White House's top scientific adviser to Operation Warp Speed, told Chuck Todd on "Meet the Press" on Sunday that the Trump administration's efforts to accelerate the development of a coronavirus vaccine is "isolated from a political environment" and that a change in administration "doesn't, frankly, make a difference" on its efficacy.

Why it matters: Slaoui told ABC's George Stephanopoulos on Sunday that he has not yet had contact with Joe Biden's transition team, as the president-elect prepares to inherit one of the country's biggest crises ahead of an expected vaccine distribution effort that would require massive logistical cooperation between states and the federal government.

Updated 7 hours ago - World

Oxford University says its coronavirus vaccine is up to 90% effective

A scientist working during at the Oxford Vaccine Group's laboratory facility at the Churchill Hospital in Oxford, England, in June. Photo: Steve Parsons/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

The University of Oxford announced Monday that a COVID-19 vaccine it's developed with AstraZeneca is 70.4% effective in preventing people from developing symptoms, per interim data from Phase 3 trials.

Why it matters: The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is shown to work in different age groups and can be stored at fridge temperature. It is much cheaper than other vaccines in development and is part of the global COVAX initiative, designed to ensure doses go where they're most needed.

10 hours ago - Politics & Policy

California governor and family in quarantine after coronavirus exposure

California Gov. Gavin Newsom. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) tweeted late Sunday that he and his family are quarantining after being exposed to COVID-19.

Details: Newsom said they learned Friday that three of his children had come into contact with a California Highway Patrol officer who tested positive for the coronavirus. "Thankfully, the entire family tested negative today," Newsom said.