By Arturo Castanares
US Center for Disease Control (CDC) experts confirmed last night than more than 2 million COVID-19 tests have been performed in the US, which means that approximately 99.4 percent of the country has not been tested for the deadly virus.
The rate of testing has increased during the past two weeks, and more than 100,000 more tests are becoming available each day, but only 0.06 percent of the population knows for sure if they have contracted the virus.
President Donald Trump has repeatedly claimed that the US has performed more tests than any other country, but the better comparison is the number of tests performed per million people in the country.
The US has performed 2,353,096 tests as of April 9, for a total of 7,109 tests per million residents. For comparison, the United Arab Emirates has performed 59,967 tests per million, Norway 22,720 per million, Switzerland 20,625 per million, Germany 15,730 per million, and Italy 14,999 per million.
China has not released its total number of tests performed.
The US is moving quickly to be able to perform more tests and return results in a shorter amount of time.
The CDC has approved 95 public health laboratories (PHL) that are currently using COVID-19 diagnostic tests, with one or more PHL in each of the 50 US states, plus Washington, D.C., Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Although the number of both private and public health laboratories is expanding, there are still shortages of materials required for testing, including laboratory supplies, testing reagents, and personal protective equipment (PPE), so testing is being limited to priority groups until enough testing supplies become more widely available.
The US Public Health Service has set priorities for testing patients with suspected COVID-19 infection into four groups:
Priority 1: Hospitalized patients and healthcare facility workers with symptoms
Priority 2: Patients in long-term care facilities with symptoms, patients 65 years of age and older with symptoms, patients with underlying conditions with symptoms, and first responders with symptoms
Priority 3: Critical infrastructure workers with symptoms, individuals who do not meet any of the above categories with symptoms, healthcare facility workers and first responders, and individuals with mild symptoms in communities experiencing high numbers of COVID-19 hospitalizations
Non-Priority: Individuals without symptoms
As of April 9th, the CDC reported 459,165 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the US and 16,570 deaths. The states with the most cases include New York with 157,073 cases, New Jersey with 51,027, Michigan with 21,504, and California with 18,309.
The County of San Diego reported 1,628 cases as of April 9th, with 40 local deaths from the virus.