Vice President Mike Pence has finally made the proclamation, on behalf of the CDC and the Trump Administration, that Coronavirus testing will be made available to the general American public by the end of next week. The news comes after the United States government has received criticism for its treatment of the Covid-19 novel Coronavirus outbreak in recent weeks.
In Pence’s words to reporters at the White House, “any American can get tested” if a doctor suspects the virus in any patient. Pence said the new testing guidelines come as a result of governors informing him how they had been administering the test kits—given to patients under strict guidelines—too strict to adequately prevent the virus’ spread. And after seeing the enormous impact of community spread resulting from unknown origins, the CDC has decided to be less stingy in its distribution of test kits.
Having been under great pressure and facing a world of backlash for delays in testing of this Coronavirus, Pence spoke on behalf of The Trump administration. He said that the U.S. plans to send 2,500 new test kits out by the end of the week. He claimed the kits could test 1.5 million samples, with patients normally requiring at least two samples (according to public health labs). Additionally, Pence assumes that private companies will also, most likely, boost the amount of test kits on the market, which causes experts to worry about whether enough laboratories exist to test such a large surge of samples.
So, a lot more kits will soon be on the market, unlike before when CDC was drastically curbing the ability to be tested. Previously, such restrictions were as follows: The agency advised doctors to only test patients if they had known exposure to someone with the virus, a travel history to an affected region, or had symptoms consistent with a serious respiratory illness.
From what we are seeing so far, a lot of the patients of this particular strain of Coronavirus, COVID-19, currently infecting the United States, are currently acquiring the virus from unknown sources.
As Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), has stated, “The big unknown that I think we’re going to be able to address as we get much more widespread ability to test is the degree of infection that might be out there.”
Between politicians and scientists, they’ve finally decided that the best way to ameliorate this problem of swelling viral infection is more knowledge. The more testing that can be done, the better, but the country must also work to stop the spread of the virus in the meantime.