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May 2, 2020

The US already has the technology to test millions of people a day

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, economics, government

There is widespread agreement that the only way to safely reopen the economy is through a massive increase in testing. The US needs to test millions of people per day to effectively track and then contain the covid-19 pandemic.

This is a tall order. The country tested only around 210,000 people per day last week, and the pace is not increasing fast enough to get to millions quickly.

The urgency to do better is overwhelmingly bipartisan, with the most recent legislation adding $25 billion for testing a few days ago. Fears are growing, however, that testing might not scale in time to make a difference. As Senators Lamar Alexander and Roy Blunt wrote last week, “We have been talking with experts across the government and the private sector to find anyone who believes that current technology can produce the tens of millions of tests necessary to put this virus behind us. Unfortunately, we have yet to find anyone to do so.”

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