The United States needs to perform as many as 200 million coronavirus tests every month well into next year if there’s to be any chance of controlling the pandemic, experts said in a new report released today.
That is way beyond current capacity, but new, fast tests are being developed and once they reach the market, it should be possible, according to the report from the Rockefeller Foundation and the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy.
“Our analysis shows that the US will likely need very large numbers of all types of Covid-19 tests well into 2021 to contain outbreaks while returning toward normal activity, with a particular need for more screening tests that have very fast turnaround times,” the report reads.
“Testing capacity and test capabilities are improving, but further steps are needed by government, businesses, and manufacturers to close the gaps.”
Adm. Brett Giroir, the testing lead for the White House Coronavirus Task Force, has said repeatedly that the US cannot test its way out of the pandemic. But the report from the team of experts says much more testing is vital.
“At present infection rates, a basic screening strategy will require approximately 200 million tests each month for students and staff at the nation’s primary and secondary schools and residents and staff at nursing homes for them to open safely and in stages,” wrote the team.
“But fewer than 30 million Covid-19 tests are now reported monthly in the United States. Even if infection rates decline, the testing needed in just schools and nursing homes exceeds the nation’s entire capacity now.”