US to reduce ‘unnecessary’ COVID-19 testing despite new record of 75, 000 cases in single day
London, July 17, 2020 (AltAfrica)-The United States reported at least 75 000 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, a record daily increase for the seventh time this month, according to a Reuters tally.
But in spite of the new daily record, the Trump administration is preparing to issue guidance on reducing “unnecessary” testing for COVID-19 as it works to cut turnaround times for tests, a senior US health official said on Thursday
Details of the guidance are still being hammered out but it would be aimed partly at discouraging COVID-19 patients who have completed home quarantine from getting retested before returning to work or school, said Brett Giroir, assistant secretary for health at the US Department of Health and Human Services.
Speaking on a call with reporters, he said such unnecessary tests were “clogging up the system.”
“You do not need to be retested unless you are a critically ill person in the hospital or a very unusual case with immune suppression in which case you could shed virus for longer than seven or eight days,” he said.
“Turnaround times continue to be an issue” for COVID-19 tests, he added, saying he would like to see the average get down to three days. Currently, only 26 states are taking three days or less to produce test results, with one state taking more than five days.
Meanwhile, US deaths are also rising and have recently reached the highest levels since early June, led by Arizona, California, Florida and Texas, according to the tally.More than half of all states – 30 out of 50 – have reported record one-day increases in cases this month.
Infections are rising in almost all states, based on a Reuters analysis of cases the past two weeks compared with the prior two weeks.
If Florida were a country, it would rank fourth in the world for the most new cases in a day behind the United States, Brazil and India, according to a Reuters analysis.
Americans have become increasingly divided on issues such as the reopening of schools and businesses and wearing face masks in public.
There is near-universal consensus among health experts that wearing masks is one of the most effective ways to stop transmission of the virus, which has killed more than 134 000 Americans.
The current tally of 75 255 cases surpasses the previous record was set on Friday when cases rose by 69 070.
In June, cases rose by an average of 28 000 a day, according to a Reuters tally. In July, they have risen by an average of 57 625 a day.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious diseases expert, has warned that cases could soon top 100 000 a day if Americans do not come together to take steps necessary to halt the spread of the virus. Source