All Patients Need Is A Doctor’s OK To Get Coronavirus Test. But Is There Enough To Go Around?
Some worry that a surge in coronavirus testing by people who have no real need may divert resources from seriously ill patients whose diagnosis is unknown, and wish the government hadn't been so broad in giving doctors the final say in the testing.
The New York Times:
Coronavirus Testing Offered With Just A Doctor’s Approval, C.D.C. Says
Federal health officials announced on Wednesday that anyone who wants a coronavirus test may get one if a doctor agrees. But the nation’s testing capacity is still so limited that experts feared clinics and hospitals could be overwhelmed by an avalanche of requests. Under the new criteria, patients who have fevers, coughs or difficulty breathing qualify for diagnostic testing, depending on their doctor’s judgment. But with flu season in full swing, tens of millions of Americans already have respiratory symptoms, and doctors have no quick way to discern who should be tested. (Rabin and Thomas, 3/4)
The Washington Post:
Expanded Coronavirus Testing May Overwhelm Lab Capacity, Say Some Experts
The move drew praise from experts who said the previous guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were far too restrictive in the face of a virus that has spread to more than 75 countries and sickened more than 95,000 people. But other health experts warned the action might inadvertently send the wrong message, prompting a surge in demand for tests from people with mild symptoms who should simply stay home until they recover. They also noted that laboratory capacity for virus testing, while on the rise, is still lagging. Tests that can be done in doctor’s offices don’t exist. (Goldstein, Johnson, Sun and McGinley, 3/4)
Laboratories Meet With White House, Form Consortium For Coronavirus Tests
The Trump administration met with private lab test developers on Wednesday to discuss increasing the availability of tests for the coronavirus and said that the companies had formed a consortium. Vice President Mike Pence said the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has included coronavirus testing as an essential health benefit for health plans in a bid to increase Americans' access to tests. "We want every American to have access to testing," Pence said. (3/4)
Officials Say Coronavirus Tests Are Here. Where Are They?
After a weekslong delay, thousands of coronavirus test kits are headed to state and local laboratories, Vice President Mike Pence said Wednesday. But questions remain about when, exactly, those promised test kits will arrive and how well they will work. (Edwards, 3/4)
The New York Times:
Criticized For Coronavirus Response, Trump Points To Obama Administration
President Trump sought on Wednesday to deflect criticism of his administration’s response to the coronavirus onto his predecessor, complaining that a federal agency decision under President Barack Obama had made it harder to quickly enact widespread testing for the virus. “The Obama administration made a decision on testing that turned out to be very detrimental to what we’re doing, and we undid that decision a few days ago so that the testing can take place in a much more accurate and rapid fashion,” Mr. Trump said. “That was a decision we disagreed with. I don’t think we would have made it, but for some reason it was made. But we’ve undone that decision.” (Baker and Kaplan, 3/4)