Researchers say the United States is nowhere near the testing capacity it would need to contain future outbreaks of COVID-19.
MONDAY, April 27, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Governors preparing to relax social distancing orders and reopen their economies are about to make a dire mistake that could cause COVID-19 cases to surge in their states, infectious disease experts warn.
The United States' ability to contain future COVID-19 outbreaks rests on its ability to test hundreds of thousands daily for the virus, and the country is nowhere near that capacity, researchers say.
The United States needs at least 500,000 COVID-19 virus tests performed daily to even have a hope of safely reopening, more than triple the capacity officials have been able to achieve, Dr. Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, said during a media briefing on Wednesday.
Others have estimated even more testing is needed, on the order of 10 to 20 million tests daily, but Jha thinks the country could get by with a half million tests daily if that's coupled with vigorous public health efforts to trace contacts and isolate the infected.
"Testing is really at the center of the entire strategy for how we keep the virus at bay as we reopen the economy," Jha said.