Scott Gottlieb, the Trump administration's former FDA commissioner, told CNBC Wednesday that the United States is likely only diagnosing one in 10 new coronavirus infections and that between 400,000 and 500,000 Americans may be contracting the virus every day.

Why it matters: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned in June that the country's total number of infections may be closer to more than 23 million — or around 10x the 2.3 million confirmed cases at the time.

  • The agencies arrived at that figure after analyzing blood samples from around the country for coronavirus antibodies.

What he's saying: "The reality is we have well more than 100,000 infections a day and more than 100,000 cases a day right now," Gottlieb said. "We're probably diagnosing maybe one in 10 infections nationally ... in these epidemic states where they're falling behind on testing."

  • "So the 40,000–50,000 infections that we're diagnosing each day right now really represents 400,000–500,000 infections. Now, those are infections. They're not all cases, because not all those people are symptomatic. But probably 200,000–300,000 of them are symptomatic — perhaps mildly symptomatic."
  • "Now, whether or not we can diagnose 100,000 cases a day — actually get them tested and confirmed on PCR tests — that's unclear. Because the problem is that even though we have a lot of testing in the country — we have well more than 500,000 tests a day and that's going to continue to grow — we're going to be short on tests in places where there's epidemics."

The big picture: Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Tuesday he would not be surprised if the country begins reporting as many as 100,000 new coronavirus cases per day.

  • The U.S. currently reports around 40,000 new cases daily, but Fauci warned that that number will rise rapidly "if this does not turn around."

Go deeper: Coronavirus cases skyrocketing among communities of color

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Updated Aug 9, 2020 - Health

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The COVID Tracking Project; Note: Does not include probable deaths from New York City; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The number of COVID-19 cases recorded in the U.S. surpassed 5 million on Sunday morning, per Johns Hopkins data.

The big picture: Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden noted in an emailed statement that 5 million "is more than the entire population of Alabama — or of more than half the states in our union, for that matter," as he blamed President Trump for his handling of the pandemic.

Aug 10, 2020 - Health

How to do smarter coronavirus testing

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

With testing once again a huge vulnerability to America’s coronavirus response, public health officials are calling for a revamped strategy that features the use of more tests, even if they're imperfect.

Why it matters: The system is overwhelmed by the demand for tests, and yet prolific testing is key to identifying asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic coronavirus cases. Experts say the solution is smarter testing — which doesn't require perfect accuracy.

Updated 11 hours ago - Health

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

The number of COVID-19 cases surpassed 20 million worldwide on Monday evening, Johns Hopkins data shows.

The big picture: World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual press conference as the world approached the milestone that 750,000 deaths were set to be recorded this week. "Every life lost matters," he said. "But I want to be clear: there are green shoots of hope and... it's never too late to turn the outbreak around."