Nearly 20% of US counties have no COVID-19 testing sites

Almost 20 percent of U.S. counties have no COVID-19 testing sites, affecting more than 7 million people, according to data from nonprofit group Surgo Ventures cited by The Wall Street Journal

Testing deserts are often in less affluent urban and rural counties, the Journal reported. Many people in those areas have front-line jobs that put them at higher risk of contracting the virus and spreading it to others. 

In most urban testing deserts, the proportion of people of color is higher than the national average, according to the Journal

Other barriers to more widespread testing include lack of free testing or testing for children. Some areas don't have  reliable internet access to allow people to book appointments to be tested or check their results. 

President Joe Biden's pandemic response plan, released Jan. 21, includes a national COVID-19 testing strategy that broadens access to testing, according to the Journal. It also includes purchasing more rapid tests to be sent to priority populations and boosting development of more at-home tests. 

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