Next Testing Debacle: The Fall Virus Surge

June 22, 2020 by Christen Aldrich

Filed under COVID-19 for Employers, COVID-19 for the Workforce

Last modified June 23, 2020

According to this article in Politico, The U.S is now conducting more than 3 million coronavirus tests a week. This is a big improvement over the shortages and failures that worsened the pandemic this spring. However, the country risks another dangerous testing deficit this fall when schools and businesses try to reopen.

Safely reopening schools and businesses could require up to 30 million tests per week, rather than the current three million, certain experts say. And if surging coronavirus cases collide with flu season, the demand could be even higher. “We could have a situation that would stretch us,” said Nate Smith, secretary of the Arkansas Department of Health. “We’re likely to see people who are infected with both at the same time. No one knows exactly how that’s going to look.”

Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, says the prediction of 40 million to 50 million tests per month by September won’t be enough to tamp the virus down as the country returns to work and school.

“I believe that we will need two or three times that number of tests, if not more, if we’re going to have a shot at keeping our economy open and keep our people protected during the fall and winter,” he said.

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