Coronavirus tests in US: Facts v. fiction

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Pennsylvania Commonwealth microbiologist Kerry Pollard performs a manual extraction of the coronavirus inside the extraction lab at the Pennsylvania Department of Health Bureau of Laboratories on Friday, March 6, 2020. Credit: Governor Tom Wolf (CC BY 2.0).

If you’re confused about coronavirus testing, you are not alone. The Trump administration promised that millions of tests were being sent out, and that everyone who wants to get tested can. But that’s not true. In California, almost 1,200 people have been tested. 

Governor Gavin Newsom says we have almost 8,000 test kits, and admits that’s not enough: “So we’ll go from four to potentially seven hospital sites as early as next week -- in addition to Quest, which will go from one testing facility in San Juan Capistrano to two additional testing facilities, we hope by the end of the month. So I’m giving you a broad overview of our testing protocols and testing capacity. They are improving, but there are challenges, and we need to own up to that. And we need to be forthright and honest about what those are.”

We call on an epidemiologist to help separate fact from fiction when it comes to COVID-19 testing. 

Credits

Guest:
Janet Hamilton - The Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists

Host:
Madeleine Brand

Producers:
Sarah Sweeney, Michell Eloy, Amy Ta, Alexandra Sif Tryggvadottir, Rosalie Atkinson, Brian Hardzinski, Angie Perrin