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Quest Diagnostics' laboratory facility in Marlborough, Mass,, where they are making test kits for the coronavirus. Photo: John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Coronavirus testing capacity could crumble under the combined demand of the pandemic and the fall flu season, Quest's executive vice president James Davis told the Financial Times.

Why it matters: Turnaround times for coronavirus tests are already at roughly a week. Labs only have the capacity to focus on people who are symptomatic, and that will get worse with the cold and the flu, Davis said.

What they’re saying:

  • “We would double our capacity tomorrow . . . but it’s not the labs that are the bottleneck. [It] is our ability to get physical machines and, more importantly, our ability to feed those machines with chemical reagents," Davis said, adding "other solutions need to be found" in addition to nasal swab testing.
  • Quest rival LabCorp also warned Tuesday virus is spreading faster than the company can handle: “We need all states to ensure we’re doing everything we can to better control the virus. If we can do that, then we’ll be able to have the tests that we need,” LabCorp CEO Adam Schechter told CNBC.

What to watch: The Food and Drug Administration last week granted Quest the first emergency use authorization to conduct pooled coronavirus testing in hopes to speed up the process.

Go deeper

Updated Oct 16, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: Booster shots overtake first doses in the U.S. — Pfizer to vaccinate entire Brazilian city as part of study — FDA panel endorses shot of J&J booster for adultsU.S. to lift restrictions for fully vaccinated international travelers on Nov. 8.
  2. Health: New cases down, but the West is at risk — Low vaccination rates exacerbate America's caregiving crisis — COVID is here to stay. So what does "victory" look like? — FDA will review Merck COVID-19 pill.
  3. Politics: NHL announces all but four players have been vaccinated — WHO names new advisory group on COVID origins — Biden admin warns Moderna to "step up" global vaccine supply.
  4. Education: LA extends deadline for school employee vaccinations amid staffing shortage — Parent sues Wisconsin school district after child tests positive — Arizona can't use aid for anti-mask education grants, Treasury says.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Oct 29, 2020 - Health

U.S. tops 88,000 COVID-19 cases, setting new single-day record

Expand chart
Data: COVID Tracking Project; Chart: Axios Visuals

The United States reported 88,452 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, setting a single-day record, according to data from the COVID Tracking Project.

The big picture: The country confirmed 1,049 additional deaths due to the virus, and there are over 46,000 people currently being hospitalized, suggesting the U.S. is experiencing a third wave heading into the winter months.

Top HHS spokesperson pitched coronavirus ad campaign as "helping the president"

Michael Caputo. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

In September, Health and Human Services spokesperson Michael Caputo privately pitched one branch of the agency's $250 million coronavirus ad campaign with the theme: "Helping the President will Help the Country," according to documents released by House Democrats on the Oversight Committee on Thursday.

Why it matters: These are the latest documents that suggest the deep politicization of the Trump administration's coronavirus response.