Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan announced on Friday that the city will start making diagnostic tests available to all employees of “essential” businesses, and to city employees performing essential services.

Why it matters: It’s the first program of its kind, and a model for other cities to follow. And it’s a reminder that testing remains the limiting factor in every facet of our response to the coronavirus.

You may be tired of hearing about testing. You may think it has become an almost myopic focus in a multifaceted crisis. But there is simply no way to work around it, or to put that problem to the side and focus on something else. All roads lead back to testing.

Between the lines: Detroit’s plan to test people who aren’t experiencing symptoms, even if it's just a small group, is critical.

  • Many parts of the country, though, simply don’t have the capacity to test anyone who isn't feeling sick. That will never be good enough.
  • Although more rapid tests are becoming available, turnaround times of up to a week increase the risk that people will spread the virus without knowing it.
  • If you test someone too soon after they’ve contracted COVID-19, they won’t have enough of the virus in their system, resulting in a false negative — which means some infected workers may slip through the cracks even with widespread testing.

Our thought bubble: Every incremental step that brings more people out into the world creates some level of additional risk. We don’t have a vaccine and we can’t stay inside forever, so all we can do is try to find a level of risk that’s manageable.

  • The only way to manage that risk is to stay on top of the virus’ spread, and the only way to do that is with testing. And so the limitations in testing will always, necessarily, restrict everything else we try to do.

Go deeper

FDA authorizes Abbott's $5 rapid COVID-19 test

Results from the BinaxNOW COVID-19 Ag Card test will be available in roughly 15 minutes. Photo: Courtesy of Abbott Laboratories.

Abbott Laboratories said Wednesday it received emergency use authorization (EAU) from the Food and Drug Administration for its COVID-19 test that works without lab equipment.

The big picture: Abbott said it will ramp up production of its "highly portable," $5 tests to 50 million by the beginning of October.

Coronavirus cases fell by 15% this week

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

New coronavirus infections fell by almost 15% over the past week, continuing a steady downward trend.

Why it matters: The standard caveats still apply — progress can always fall apart, the U.S. is climbing down from a very high number of cases, and this is far from over. But this is undeniably good news. Things are getting better.

Updated 11 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Chris Christie: Wear a mask "or you may regret it — as I did" — Senate Democrats block vote on McConnell's targeted relief bill.
  2. Business: New state unemployment filings fall.
  3. Economy: Why the stimulus delay isn't a crisis (yet).
  4. Health: FDA approves Gilead's remdesivir as a coronavirus treatment How the pandemic might endMany U.S. deaths were avoidable.
  5. Education: Boston and Chicago send students back home for online learning.
  6. World: Spain and France exceed 1 million cases.