Can US testing keep up with the COVID-19 outbreak? 4 thoughts 

Laboratories across the U.S. are ramping up testing for COVID-19 after the FDA issued a string of clearances to boost production. However, it's unclear whether this heightened testing capacity can make up for lost time and temper the outbreak's rapid progression, reports STAT

Four things to know:

1. The FDA has worked with 230 diagnostic developers and approved 20 COVID-19 tests since January, Commissioner Stephen Hahn, MD, said in a March 30 statement cited by STAT.

2. The publication estimates that the nation's testing capacity will increase over the next few weeks to potentially process several hundred thousand tests a day.

3. However, physicians and patients are still reporting long wait times for results. Many laboratories are rushing to keep up since the use of a new test on a new diagnostic machine requires a two-week validation period, according to Dwayne Allen Breining, MD, a pathologist and executive director of New Hyde Park, N.Y.-based Northwell Health's main testing hub for COVID-19. 

"I don't think I've slept more than four hours in weeks," he told STAT. "We're going at this full speed."

4. To rein in the pandemic, the U.S. will need to expand testing so that the rate of positive tests falls to about 10 percent, according to Dr. Breining. At times, this rate has neared 50 percent at Northwell. 

"That positivity rate tells us we're only testing a fifth of the patients we'd want to be testing, ideally, if we had unlimited testing available," he said.

 To view the full article, click here.

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Private, public New York hospitals to fight coronavirus as one system, governor says

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