US labs await virus-testing kits promised by administration
WHO hasn’t declared coronavirus ‘a pandemic’ yet: Dr. Anthony Fauci
National Director of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Dr. Anthony Fauci says the vast majority of Americans aren’t at risk of contracting coronavirus.
Trump administration officials doubled down on their promise to deliver 1 million tests for the coronavirus this week as states reported limited testing supplies and federal lawmakers expressed doubts about the government's timeline.
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Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told reporters Thursday that a private manufacturer authorized to make the tests expects to ship the kits to U.S. laboratories by week's end. That amounts to the capacity to test roughly 400,000 people, given that it takes multiple test samples to a confirm a result.
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The number of U.S. cases has grown rapidly in the last several days after more labs started testing and guidelines for eligibility were expanded. The U.S. tally stood at about 200 cases on Thursday, including 12 deaths — 11 in Washington state and one in California.
The test kits from Iowa-based Integrated DNA Technologies are one part of the government’s effort to ramp up testing. But the U.S. has trailed other countries in rolling out tests, because of problems with its test kits and because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention initially limited the number of eligible people.
Asked Thursday whether there were enough testing kits, Vice President Mike Pence responded, ”I think we are we are ready today but we want to be ready tomorrow.”
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He acknowledged, “We don't have enough tests today to meet what we anticipate will be the demand going forward." However, he added, "we’ve made real progress on that in the last several days.”
U.S. senators who were briefed on the plan said it could take days or weeks before thousands of medical personnel are trained to run the tests.