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Coronavirus: Failure To Test

A police officer mans the entrance to a coronavirus (COVID-19) testing center in Hansen Dam Park in Pacoima, California.
A police officer mans the entrance to a coronavirus (COVID-19) testing center in Hansen Dam Park in Pacoima, California.

Scientists predicted that the United States would be hit hardest by the spread of COVID-19 because of a slow response to the pandemic. Last week, that prediction came true.

Now, at least 81,321 people have a confirmed coronavirus infection in the U.S. That’s more than China, Italy or any other nation. And the actual number of cases is likely much higher.

Despite President Donald Trump’s claims, the demand for testing exceeds its availability. The U.S. did not import testing supplies despite the Centers for Disease Control’s troubles producing its own.

As a result, medical professionals around the country are having to conserve tests and only use them under the strictest of circumstances, leaving potential positive cases going undiagnosed.

A lack of testing in hospitals has led to the advent of an in-home alternative. But medical professionals say that in-home testing might not be effective.

Why didn’t the United States acquire more coronavirus testing supplies when the pandemic began? What can we do to meet the demand for testing now?

Copyright 2020 WAMU 88.5. To see more, visit WAMU 88.5.


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