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Data: The COVID Tracking Project; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Anthony Fauci said during a National Academy of Sciences webcast Saturday that the U.S. should be able to double the number of diagnostic tests for the novel coronavirus in the next few weeks.

Why it matters: The U.S. needs to "have enough tests to respond to the outbreaks that will inevitably occur as you try and ease your way back into the different phases," the key White House coronavirus task force member said. The number of COVID-19 tests conducted in the U.S. surpassed 5.1 million on Saturday.

What he's saying: Fauci noted the U.S. is testing roughly 1.5 million to 2 million people a week.

  • "We probably should get up to twice that as we get into the next several weeks, and I think we will," he said.
  • The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director noted that testing is an "important tool" in curbing the spread of the coronavirus, but "it's not the only part." "I don't want to get fixated on how many tests you need," he added, stressing the need for isolation, identification and contact tracing.

Zoom in: The COVID Tracking Project data shows coronavirus testing has been trending up this week.

  • Alabama, in particular, has reported a testing spike. The state reported Saturday over 18,649 tests, many more than its previous high this week of 3,881 on Thursday, per The COVID Tracking Project.

Go deeper

Trump: Coronavirus is "under control"

President Trump said in an interview with “Axios on HBO” that he thinks the coronavirus is as well-controlled in the U.S. as it can be, despite dramatic surges in new infections over the course of the summer and more than 150,000 American deaths.

  • “They are dying, that's true. And you have — it is what it is. But that doesn't mean we aren't doing everything we can. It's under control as much as you can control it. This is a horrible plague,” he told Axios' Jonathan Swan.
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."

White House will require staff to undergo randomized coronavirus testing

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Staff in the Executive Office of the President will be subject to mandatory coronavirus tests, in efforts to "protect the health and safety of the entire White House Complex," CNBC reports.

  • Why it matters: Multiple people in the White House have tested positive for COVID-19 throughout the pandemic, including President Trump's national security adviser Robert O'Brien last week.

What they're saying: “As part of our ongoing efforts to protect the health and safety of the entire White House Complex, randomized testing of Executive Office of the President staff, which has been ongoing for several months, will become mandatory rather than voluntary," a White House official said Monday.