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Coronavirus testing capacity expanding, but not fast enough, experts say

As the Trump administration scrambles to make more coronavirus tests available, demand for testing still outstrips availability  (Source: “U.S. Coronavirus Testing Starts To Ramp Up But Still Lags,” National Public Radio, March 18, 2020).

Most experts are pushing for making more testing available even faster, but some also question some of the steps the government is taking to try to make that happen.

More than 71,000 tests have been done so far in the U.S., according to the Covid Tracking Project, and thousands more are being conducted each week by federal and state labs, hospitals and private companies, officials say.

Every state public health lab is now testing; new high-volume, high-speed tests have been approved and are being shipped around the country; and some drive-through testing sites are slowly starting to open. The federal government hopes to open 47 drive-through sites in 12 states soon.

"The testing capacity remains extraordinarily limited compared to where we should be. And in many ways we are absolutely flying blind at the moment," says Michael Mina, an epidemiologist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.