As the coronavirus outbreak spreads from coast to coast in the US, there’s been a lot of concern about whether people who are sick can actually get tested for COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.
Testing for COVID-19 has been slow to scale up during the virus’s first weeks in the US — so slow that some experts say the outbreak is now past the point of being contained. Critics blame the critical delay on the CDC’s sending out faulty testing kits to state health departments last month and initially setting strict, narrow restrictions on who qualified for testing. The federal agency has since fixed the kits and expanded its testing criteria, leading the White House to claim that the US testing shortage is over.
Still, it’s clear that Americans are not currently getting tested fast enough, if at all. A BuzzFeed News review found that at least 2,187 people had been tested across the country, either at the state level or by the CDC, by the end of last week. And while this number has slowly increased as more states and private labs have started testing, it’s still far below the 75,000 to 1 million tests promised by various Trump administration officials. By comparison, South Korea has been testing about 15,000 people a day.
We want to hear from you directly about how the coronavirus testing shortage is affecting you.
If you’re a person who has been experiencing symptoms, were you able to get tested? What was it like trying to request a test? Fill out our survey here.
If you’re a health care provider, have you been able to test everyone who’s asked? How do you determine whether to test a patient? Fill out our survey here.
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