Testing In U.S. Still Scattershot Even As Study Of Germany’s Cases Finds Early Detection Can Sharply Cuts Death Rates
Confusion persists over which patients can get tested for coronavirus as U.S. struggles to keep up with the demand. Meanwhile, Germany has only had two deaths despite confirming more than 1,000 cases. Rapid testing at the onset of the outbreak might be the reason behind that success.
The Associated Press:
As Labs Ramp Up, Who Can Get Tested In US For Coronavirus?
Can any American who's sick get tested for the worrisome new coronavirus? That's been a complicated question, one that's left doctors, patients and some health experts frustrated and concerned. U.S. health officials say more and more public and private laboratories are now able to test for the virus. But some experts have wondered why it's taken so long, and what that means to efforts to spot and stop the outbreak's spread. (3/9)
The Associated Press:
Experts: Rapid Testing Helps Explain Few German Virus Deaths
Germany has confirmed more than 1,100 cases of the new coronavirus but — so far — just two deaths, far fewer than other European countries with a similar number of reported infections. Experts said Monday that rapid testing as the outbreak unfolded meant Germany has probably diagnosed a much larger proportion of those who have been infected, including younger patients who are less likely to develop serious complications. (3/9)
Quest Diagnostics Rolls Out Virus Tests In California
Quest Diagnostics Inc. made coronavirus tests available on Monday in California as part of a broader roll-out meant to dramatically expand the U.S.’s capacity to identify new cases. The company’s effort began when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave companies greater leeway to develop their own tests Feb. 29, Chief Executive Officer Steve Rusckowski said in an interview. Quest sprang into action, obtaining specimens of the virus from South Korea, he said. (Court, 3/9)
California Nearly Doubles COVID-19 Tests, But Experts Say It's Not Enough
Over the weekend, health officials in California nearly doubled the number of people tested for COVID-19. Yet with thousands of people being monitored for the new coronavirus, as of Monday the total still only amounts to 942 people, according to the California Department of Public Health. Medical professionals say that’s not nearly enough given the spread of the coronavirus in the state. (Stark, 3/9)
Georgia Urges Health Insurers To Waive Cost-Sharing For COVID-19 Tests
Health insurers should waive their policyholders’ cost-sharing charges for testing for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, Georgia’s state insurance and fire safety commissioner said in a directive issued Monday. Insurers should also boost their preparedness, keep customers informed about their benefits and share how they are responding to the state directive, said Insurance and Fire Safety Commissioner John King. He called the spread of the disease an “urgent public health challenge.” (Redmon, 3/9)