COVID-19 Testing

May 1, 2020
NEXT! A worker hands out a test kit at a drive-through site in Long Beach, California, on April 18.
KEITH BIRMINGHAM—MEDIANEWS GROUP/PASADENA STAR-NEWS/GETTY IMAGES

After weeks of following stay-at-home orders, many people in the United States are eager to get back to work. Since the coronavirus pandemic began, some 22 million Americans have lost jobs. Governors are under pressure to reopen state economies.

Last month, President Donald Trump released guidelines for easing social-distancing rules and reopening businesses. Health experts say more testing for COVID-19 must happen first. Identifying people who have the disease can help states prevent it from spreading.

Currently, about 150,000 people in the United States are tested each day. That’s according to the COVID Tracking Project. Researchers say that number needs to triple before states can begin easing restrictions.

On April 20, Vice President Mike Pence held a videoconference with the nation’s governors. He said the federal government was “here to help.” But some governors say the federal government is not providing enough COVID-19 test kits. Lack of testing is “the Number 1 problem in America,” says Maryland governor Larry Hogan.

Dr. Anthony Fauci also thinks testing is key. He’s the nation’s top infectious-disease expert. “Unless we get the virus under control,” he says, “the real recovery economically is not going to happen.”

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