Members of the Massachusetts National Guard remove their hazmat suits after helping with testing at a nursing home. Photo: Stan Grossfeld/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

The Trump administration announced Tuesday it will be ramping up testing at nursing homes in coronavirus hotspots using rapid point-of-care diagnostic test instruments.

Why it matters: The push to increase testing at nursing homes comes as many states, particularly in the Southern U.S., see a surge. Many nursing homes fell victim to the coronavirus pandemic as the virus spread among residents early on. More than 40% of U.S. coronavirus deaths were linked to nursing homes in mid-June.

What they're saying: Assistant Secretary of Health Adm. Brett Giroir stated, “Access to rapid point-of-care testing in nursing homes will further protect our Nation’s most vulnerable patients."

What to watch: The distribution will begin next week at nursing homes prioritized by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

  • Each home will receive one diagnostic test instruments and associated tests.

Go deeper: Controlling the coronavirus in nursing homes won't be easy

Go deeper

Coronavirus hospitalizations are on the rise

Expand chart
Data: The COVID Tracking ProjectHarvard Global Health Institute; Cartogram: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Coronavirus hospitalizations are increasing in 39 states, and are at or near their all-time peak in 16.

The big picture: No state is anywhere near the worst-case situation of not having enough capacity to handle its COVID-19 outbreak. But rising hospitalization rates are a sign that things are getting worse, at a dangerous time, and a reminder that this virus can do serious harm.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Politics: Trump calls Fauci a "disaster" on campaign call.
  2. Health: Coronavirus hospitalizations are on the rise — 8 states set single-day coronavirus case records last week.
  3. States: California to independently review FDA-approved coronavirus vaccinesWisconsin judge reimposes capacity limit on indoor venues.
  4. Media: Trump attacks CNN as "dumb b---ards" for continuing to cover pandemic.
  5. World: Ireland moving back into lockdown as cases surge — Argentina becomes 5th country to report 5 million infections
Oct 18, 2020 - Health

Ex-FDA head: White House coronavirus strategy of waiting for vaccine is "problematic"

Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said on CBS' "Face the Nation" Sunday the White House strategy to combat the spread of coronavirus appears to be "to endure the spread until we get to that vaccine."

Why it matters: That strategy, which leaves much of the mitigation efforts up to the states and excludes a national mask mandate, is "problematic" because the "first tranche of people to get vaccinated really won't be protected ... probably until February and maybe March," even if companies apply in November with the FDA to administer the vaccine, Gottlieb said.