U.S. must spend $75 billion to improve COVID-19 testing, report says

(HealthDay)—The United States faces “an impending disaster” from the coronavirus pandemic and should spend $75 billion to improve its diagnostic testing system for COVID-19, a Rockefeller Foundation report says.

It warned that the “extraordinary scale of the Covid-19 crisis is evident in the growing deaths and economic losses the pandemic has wrought in every state,” and added that this “terrifying tragedy was not and is not inevitable,” STAT News reported.

The authors include several former U.S. Food and Drug Administration commissioners and leading experts on pandemic preparedness and diagnostic testing.

While U.S. laboratories are conducting 4.5 million COVID-19 tests a week, it takes seven days or longer for many patients to get their test results, making the findings almost useless.

“This is just unacceptable, because by the time you get test results back, you’ve already infected many, many people,” said report co-author Mara Aspinall, from Arizona State University, STAT News reported.

Previously, the committee said the United States needed to conduct 3 million diagnostic tests a week this summer and increase that to 30 million tests a week by October, when flu season begins.

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