Only 17 states and Washington, D.C., are currently meeting minimum targets for doing enough coronavirus testing, according to a new analysis.
The Harvard Global Health Institute, in collaboration with NPR, finds that 14 states and Washington, D.C., are doing enough testing to mitigate the spread of the virus, meaning it won’t be eliminated but it will not spread out of control. An additional three states are meeting a higher threshold of doing enough tests to suppress the virus and prevent almost any new cases.
But that means 32 states are falling short of either goal, highlighting how far the country has to go in ramping up testing, even as it has made progress.
The United States is conducting about 500,000 tests per day, a significant improvement from earlier in the outbreak. But the Harvard estimate states that given how large the current outbreak is, the country needs about 1 million tests per day to mitigate the spread of the virus, and about 4 million tests per day to go even further and suppress the virus.
The 14 states along with Washington, D.C., doing enough testing to mitigate the spread of the virus, according to the analysis, are: Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, West Virginia and Wyoming.
The three states meeting the higher goal of suppression-level testing are Vermont, Hawaii and Alaska, with West Virginia, Montana, and New Jersey close behind, the analysis finds.
Notably, the analysis finds the states with the worst outbreaks now, such as Arizona and Florida, are falling far short of the needed testing.
"The surges we're seeing in large parts of the country are due in part because those states opened up too quickly and they relaxed way too much given how much virus they had in their community — and they lacked testing," Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, told NPR. "These two things really go hand in hand."
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) called on President TrumpDonald TrumpGraham says he hopes that Trump runs again Trump says Stacey Abrams 'might be better than existing governor' Kemp Executive privilege fight poses hurdles for Trump MORE to more fully use his powers under the Defense Production Act to order the ramping up of manufacturing of testing supplies, speaking Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”
“I really think we need to look at a greater use of the Defense Production Act so that we can make sure the supply keeps up with the demand that we know is going to continue growing,” Hutchinson said.