CDC Slow in Getting Test Kits Out
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Slow Start in Test Kits & Testing

The CDC had a slow start in getting test kits out. A USA Today article published March 3rd, "Feds strive to speed up coronavirus testing after CDC's slow start: 'The opportunity was missed'. According to the article by Ken Alltucker, as state and local public health labs were ramping up for testing for the virus, there were weeks of delays due to a flawed test by the U.S. CDC. As of March 3rd, the number of confirmed U.S. cases topped 100, including nine deaths in Washington. A Seattle-area researcher said his genetic analysis shows the virus probably circulated undetected in the state for six weeks. Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, said the testing glitch "left the United States without adequate testing capacity longer than it should have." According to the doctor, widespread testing is important because it can pick up mild cases of coronavirus, not just the more severe examples where people needed hospital care and became statistics.

As of today (March 6th), the US has done just 2,000 coronavirus tests, while South Korea has done more than 140,000. What gives? asks in article published by Science reporter health care & domestic policywe have no idea how large the coronavirus outbreak is because the U.S. has been extremely slow in rolling out diagnostic testing for the Covid-19 disease. Accurate testing is critical to stopping an outbreak.

"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention started sending out test kits to laboratories the first week of February, a month after China announced the outbreak, but the health agency quickly encountered a problem. Some labs reported to the CDC that some of the test kits were delivering inconclusive results during verification. Itís believed that one of the chemicals used to conduct the test was not working properly and needed to be remanufactured." The head of the CDC under President Trump, Robert Redfield, has created a bottleneck with most states having to send their samples to the CDC, losing precious time shipping materials to Atlanta in those critical first few weeks, frustrating state health officials.

As of February 25, only 12 labs across the country ó in just 5 states ó had the ability to test. In Seattle, currently the U.S. city with the most Covid-19 cases, local researchers were so exasperated by the CDCís initial faulty test that they came up with their own, which led to more clues about how the disease was spreading, leading them to conclude that the virus has been circulating there for at least 6 weeks. In South Korea, an underdeveloped country by our standards, more than 66,650 people were tested within a week of its first case and it was quickly able to test 10,000 people a day. The United Kingdom, which has only 115 positive cases, has so far tested 18,083 people for the virus.

Doesn't speak very well for our healthcare system or the competence of those we count on for our national security and ability to keep us safe and well.