Is Your State Testing Enough To Contain Its Coronavirus Outbreak? : Hits

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To safely eliminate social distancing, the United States needs more diagnostic tests for the coronavirus, experts say. But how much more?

The Trump administration said on April 27 that the United States will soon have enough capacity to double the current number of active infection tests. The country has made nearly 248,000 average daily tests over the past seven days, according to the nonprofit Covid Tracking project. Doubling that would mean making about 496,000 a day.

Will this be enough? What benchmark should states try to meet?

A leading research group, the Global Health Institute at Harvard, is proposing that the United States do more than 900,000 tests a day as a country. This projection, released Thursday, is a big leap from its previous projection of test need, which was between 500,000 and 600,000 per day.

Estimates of Harvard tests have increased, says Ashish Jha, director of the Global Health Institute, as the latest modeling shows that the epidemic in the United States is worse than expected before.

“Just in the past few weeks, all the models have converged on many more infected people and many more people [dying], ” he says.

But each state’s specific need for testing varies depending on the size of its epidemic, says Jha. The larger the epidemic, the more tests are needed.

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