We Demand All US States Are Immediately Provided FREE Functional Coronavirus Testing Kits!

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We demand that the Federal government provide FREE test kits for the novel coronavirus in sufficient numbers to identify people with disease and begin containment of the epidemic.

On March. 2, Dr. Stephen Hahn, FDA Commissioner, announced that the US will have, by the end of the week, the ability to perform 1 million tests. This has not happened.

The US CDC initially declined to test the patient who on Feb. 26 become the latest confirmed case in the US, and the first with an unknown origin of infection (raising the concern that there are more cases circulating among the general public that have not been identified).

The patient, who was on a ventilator with a suspected viral infection, was transferred from another hospital to UC Davis Medical Center on Feb. 19. The hospital's request to test for COVID-19 was initially denied by CDC, as the patient did not meet the COVID-19 testing criteria (had not recently traveled to countries with outbreaks or been in contact with someone with the virus). The CDC on Feb. 27 issued new testing rules, for which many more people can now be tested for the coronavirus.

Just 12 of more than 100 public health labs in the U.S. are currently able to test for COVID-19 because of a problem with the test developed by CDC. The agency can now screen only 350-500 samples per day. California Governor Gavin Newsom characterized the number of test kits available in the state as “remarkably inadequate.”

As of Feb. 26, CDC had performed a total of 445 tests. For comparison, the UK, with a population five times smaller than the US, had conducted over 7,000 tests.

March 2, 2020

Dr. Matt McCarthy, a staff physician at New York-Presbyterian:

“I’m here to tell you, right now, at one of the busiest hospitals in the country, I don’t have [a rapid diagnostic test] at my finger tips.” “I still have to make my case, plead to test people. This is not good. We know that there are 88 cases in the United States. There are going to be hundreds by middle of week. There’s going to be thousands by next week. And this is a testing issue.”

“In New York State, the person who tested positive is only the 32nd test we’ve done in this state,” he said. “That is a national scandal. [...] They’re testing 10,000 a day in some countries and we can’t get this off the ground,” McCarthy said. “I’m a practitioner on the firing line, and I don’t have the tools to properly care for patients today.” 

 

Information courtesy of worldometers.com, MSNBC