As the U.S. weighs how to safely reopen the economy, the country will have to expand coronavirus testing on a national scale and be more strategic about how the tests are administered.
Despite efforts by medtechs to rapidly ramp up production of both diagnostic and antibody tests, and by commercial labs to make them more widely available, the U.S. continues to have inadequate testing capacities to enable case-based interventions such as contact tracing.
Last week, 1.6 million COVID-19 tests were performed nationwide in the U.S., according to Caitlin Rivers, senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.
However, she contends that's nowhere near enough to gain control of the country's coronavirus outbreak. "Estimates for the number of tests we need range from 3.5 million to tens of millions per week," she said May 6 before a House appropriations subcommittee. "We need, at minimum, enough capacity to test everyone with COVID-like symptoms and have results within 24 hours."
MedTech Dive has featured a series of articles on the testing challenges facing the nation as it grapples with how to manage the pandemic, including shortages of lab supplies such as swabs, reagents, test kits, and personal protective equipment, not to mention the poor accuracy of some antibody tests.
Here's a look at our latest stories on the current state of coronavirus testing in America.