WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn announced in a Coronavirus Task Force Press Briefing that a new coronavirus test would be available Tuesday from Avid, a pharmaceuticals company.
The tests would deliver results in 5 to 15 minutes, Hahn noted, and the availability of said tests will be ramping up.
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It is also difficult to evaluate whether Trump’s claim regarding the U.S. having performed more tests than any other nation is true in regards to China, where the outbreak first originated in its city of Wuhan. China does not publicize its national testing results, according to Business Insider.
As of March 30, in the United States, there were over 159,000 confirmed cases, more than 2,900 deaths, and more than 5,500 recoveries. The only way for someone to be counted as having COVID-19, or be determined to have recovered or have died from the virus, is if they are tested.
U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar noted Monday that more than 100,000 samples were being tested a day, while thanking state and local governments, FEMA and additional parties who've made testing more accessible.
The U.S. count is going up fast in part because the virus is spreading and in part because of a test shortage that lasted weeks, as well as a backlog in laboratories reporting results. In that time, Trump falsely asserted that anyone who wanted or needed to get the test could.
South Korea’s coronavirus response has been marked by an emphasis on widespread testing that earned global praise. But even in that country the government is stressing social distancing measures because of worries the outbreak could pick up again.
Health care workers are dreading the prospect of dire scenarios as U.S. hospitals brace for a looming surge in patients who need breathing machines and other resources that could soon be in critically short supply.
That has meant dusting off playbooks they’ve never before had to implement on how to fairly ration limited resources during an emergency.
“I pray for their good judgment and their capacity as they make very difficult choices,” said Erik Curren, whose 77-year-old father died this month from respiratory complications related to the virus after becoming infected at an assisted living home in Florida.
Harrowing scenarios already are unfolding in country after country hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, including Spain, where one nursing home official said sick residents are dying after being unable to get into overflowing hospitals.
Like much of the rest of the world, ventilators that help people breathe are in particular demand across the U.S., given the respiratory problems common among people severely ill with COVID-19.
As many as 900,000 coronavirus patients in the U.S. could need the machines during the outbreak, according to the Society for Critical Care Medicine. Yet the group estimates the country has only 200,000, many of which already are being used by other patients.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.