Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar told reporters Thursday that enough coronavirus test kits will be shipped to public laboratories during this week to test approximately 400,000 people, according to Reuters.

By the end of next week, officials estimate enough test kits will be shipped out to test between 1.5 million and 1.7 million people for COVID-19. 

“Right now, it is a challenge if you are a doctor wanting to get somebody tested,” Azar said. He also acknowledged the constraints doctors and health care providers face when reaching out to coordinate with public health labs on testing an increasing number of patients. 

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“That experience will get better over the next week, week and a half, two weeks,” Azar said to reporters.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is working with contractors such as Integrated DNA Technologies to manufacture test kits and distribute them to public labs. Integrated DNA Technologies is aiming to send its tests to labs and hospitals across the country for wider use in the next several days.

There are currently about 96,892 cases confirmed globally of the coronavirus, with a rising 164 cases in the U.S. The World Health Organization (WHO) has estimated a global COVID-19 fatality rate of 3.4 percent, while HHS officials estimate a smaller figure around 0.1 to 1 percent, according to U.S. Assistant Secretary for Health Brett Giroir.


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Published on Mar 05, 2020