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Is Your State Doing Enough Coronavirus Testing?


The number of daily coronavirus tests being conducted in the United States is 65 percent of the level considered necessary to mitigate the spread of the virus, as many states struggle to increase testing.

10

states* meet the testing target

7

states are near the target

34

states are far below the target

AlaskaAla.Ark.Ariz.Calif.Colo.Conn.D.C.Del.Fla.Ga.HawaiiIowaIdahoIll.Ind.Kan.Ky.La.Mass.Md.MaineMich.Minn.Mo.Miss.Mont.N.C.N.D.Neb.N.H.N.J.N.M.Nev.N.Y.OhioOkla.Ore.Pa.R.I.S.C.S.D.Tenn.TexasUtahVa.Vt.Wash.Wis.W.Va.Wyo.

*Includes 9 states and Washington, D.C. States within 20 percent of the testing target are considered “near” the target.

An average of 962,000 tests per day were performed over the past week, according to data collected by the Covid Tracking Project, well below the current nationwide target of 1.5 million daily tests. The target, which is based on a methodology developed by researchers at the Harvard Global Health Institute, is different for each state and varies over time as infection rates change.

The figures for some states, marked with an asterisk (*) below, indicate one test reported for each individual tested, even if that person is tested more than once. The figures for the other states indicate the total number of specimens tested, including when an individual is tested more than once, which can lead to higher reported test numbers and lower positivity rates. For states that report both individuals and specimens tested, the table below will eventually be updated to indicate specimens tested, as that is the more common metric reported by states.

How each state’s current testing measures up

Average daily testing and hospitalizations in the last two weeks

Daily tests
per 100,000

Daily tests
per 100k

Percentage of
testing target

Percentage
of target

Positive
test rate

Positive
rate

Hospitalized
per 100,000

Hospital
per 100k

United States
U.S.

65Target

65Target

5%
Iowa*
Iowa

14

14

18%
Idaho
Idaho

14

14

23%
Wisconsin*
Wis.

14

14

20%
South Dakota*
S.D.

14

14

23%
Wyoming*
Wyo.

18

18

19%
Nevada*
Nev.

18

18

15%
Kansas*
Kan.

19

19

16%
Indiana*
Ind.

20

20

14%
Nebraska*
Neb.

24

24

13%
Alabama
Ala.

24

24

13%
Florida*
Fla.

30

30

11%
Montana
Mont.

31

31

11%
Mississippi
Miss.

31

31

11%
Oklahoma
Okla.

33

33

8%
North Dakota
N.D.

33

33

8%
Utah*
Utah

35

35

15%
Arizona*
Ariz.

39

39

7%
Delaware*
Del.

40

40

6%
Missouri
Mo.

43

43

7%
Arkansas
Ark.

44

44

7%
North Carolina
N.C.

48

48

6%
Tennessee
Tenn.

49

49

7%
Oregon*
Ore.

51

51

6%
Pennsylvania*
Pa.

51

51

8%
Maryland
Md.

54

54

6%
Georgia
Ga.

55

55

6%
Texas
Texas

56

56

7%
South Carolina
S.C.

58

58

5%
Kentucky
Ky.

58

58

5%
Virginia
Va.

60

60

5%
Minnesota
Minn.

62

62

5%
New Mexico
N.M.

74

74

4%
Alaska
Alaska

74

74

4%
Illinois

Pfizer to start testing its Covid-19 vaccine in kids as young as 12

It will be the first coronavirus vaccine trial to include children in the United States.

A team at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital will begin vaccinating teenagers aged 16 and 17 this week, and will move to enroll 12-to 15-year-olds later, said Dr. Robert Frenck, director of the Vaccine Research Center at the hospital.

The company confirmed on its website it has approval from the US Food and Drug Administration to enroll children as young as 12 in its trial.

“We really think a vaccine for adolescents and children is going to be critical for getting Covid under control,” Frenck told CNN in a telephone interview.

“I think one of the things that is important to remember is that although the death rate for children with Covid is lower than in older adults, it’s not zero,” he saId, noting that more than half a million children have been diagnosed with coronavirus in the US. “It is not a nonexistent infection in children.”

Children can develop serious illness and also die from coronavirus and there is no way to predict which ones will, he said. They also can spread it to other, more vulnerable people, including parents, grandparents, healthcare workers and others. And children can develop a rare but serious side-effect from coronavirus infection called multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children or MIS-C.
Kids struggle with Covid-19 and its months of aftermath

Frenck also believes more children have been infected with coronavirus than the official data show. “I think we are probably under detecting the number of kids that are infected because they are not getting sick enough to where a parent says they need to go to a doctor,” he said.

“Most of the time in kids, you have a young kid at home and they have a runny nose, they have a cough — you are not going to bring them to a doctor,” he added.

“And most of the time, what a coronavirus causes is a cold.”

Plus, the FDA has asked the companies working to make a coronavirus vaccine to test them in diverse groups — including in people usually missed in drug and vaccine trials, such as the elderly, Blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans.

New ads encourage minorities to roll up their sleeves and participate in coronavirus vaccine trials

Pfizer, one of four companies to have vaccines in advanced, Phase 3 clinical trials in the US, says it has enrolled close to 38,000 volunteers in its trial. More than 31,000 of them have received the second of two shots.

Frenck said more than 90 people have responded to an ad looking for volunteers to sign up teens for the trial.

Pfizer developed its two-dose coronavirus vaccine with Germany’s BioNtech. It uses pieces of viral genetic material to induce immunity to the coronavirus.

“If regulatory approval or authorization is obtained, the companies expect to manufacture globally up to 100 million doses by the end of 2020 and potentially 1.3 billion doses by the end of 2021,” the company said on its website.

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Virginia governor critical of Trump’s coronavirus response in first appearance since testing positive

About 65 staff members who had close contact with the Northams were told to ­self-isolate for two weeks. Northam said none tested positive, which he called “a testament” to the value of wearing masks.

He noted that masks protected several staff members who could not physically distance from him before he tested positive, including a press secretary, photographer and security detail who traveled in an SUV and airplane with Northam.

He contrasted that with the largely mask-free Rose Garden ceremony last month that Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, has called a superspreader event. Trump, first lady Melania Trump and several others subsequently tested positive for the virus.

“No masks, no social distancing — and look at the number of people that tested positive,” Northam said Tuesday, referring to the White House event. “We talk about science, it doesn’t get any clearer than that . . . I would remind every Virginian: Masks are scientifically proven to reduce the spread of this disease, plain and simple.”

Northam, a former Army doctor and pediatrician, said his and his wife’s symptoms were mild. He warned Virginians not to let down their guard, particularly as cooler fall temperatures and shrinking daylight hours make outdoor socializing less appealing.

The governor said he is unlikely to ease pandemic-related restrictions in the near term. He acknowledged pressure to return to in-person education at public schools but urged continued caution.

“Numbers are going up in a number of states across this country, so we’re not out of the woods,” he said. “We’re nowhere close to being out of the woods.”

The greater Washington region on Tuesday reported 1,763 additional coronavirus cases and 20 deaths. Virginia added 1,235 cases and 11 deaths, Maryland added 482 cases and nine deaths, and the District added 46 cases and no deaths.

Virginia’s daily caseload was above its rolling seven-day average, lifting that number to 1,089 — the state’s highest daily average since Aug. 13.

The seven-day average in Northern Virginia rose Tuesday to 264 cases, a four-month high in the region.

Daily caseloads Tuesday in Maryland and the District were below their rolling seven-day averages. It’s the third consecutive day that both jurisdictions reported new infections at or below their recent average amid an uptick that began earlier this month.

The recent caseload rise across the region has coincided with the outbreak at the White House, although local health officials have said it’s unclear whether there’s a connection.

Dana Hedgpeth contributed to this report.

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Black Doctors Work to Make Coronavirus Testing More Equitable

Editor’s note: Find the latest COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape’s Coronavirus Resource Center.

When the coronavirus arrived in Philadelphia in March, Dr. Ala Stanford hunkered down at home with her husband and kids. A pediatric surgeon with a private practice, she has staff privileges at a few suburban Philadelphia hospitals. For weeks, most of her usual procedures and patient visits were canceled. So she found herself, like a lot of people, spending the days in her pajamas, glued to the TV.

And then, at the beginning of April, she started seeing media reports indicating that Black people were contracting the coronavirus and dying from COVID-19 at greater rates than other demographic groups.

“It just hit me like, what is going on?” said Stanford.

At the same time, she started hearing from Black friends who couldn’t get tested because they didn’t have a doctor’s referral or didn’t meet the testing criteria. In April, there were shortages of coronavirus tests in numerous locations across the country, but Stanford decided to call around to the hospitals where she works to learn more about why people were being turned away.

One explanation she heard was that a doctor had to sign on to be the “physician of record” for anyone seeking a test. In a siloed health system, it could be complicated to sort out the logistics of who would communicate test results to patients. And, in an effort to protect health care workers from being exposed to the virus, some test sites wouldn’t let people without cars simply walk up to the test site.

Stanford knew African Americans were less likely to have primary care physicians than white Americans, and more likely to rely on public transportation. She just couldn’t square all that with the disproportionate infection rates for Black people she was seeing on the news.

“All these reasons in my mind were barriers and excuses,” she said. “And, in essence, I decided in that moment we were going to test the city of Philadelphia.”



Dr Ala Stanford and her staff on duty a coronavirus testing site in Pennsylvania. Stanford created the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium and sends mobile test units into neighborhoods.

Black Philadelphians contract the coronavirus at a rate nearly twice that of their white counterparts. They also are more likely to have severe cases of the virus: African Americans make up 44% of Philadelphians but 55% of those hospitalized for COVID-19.

Black Philadelphians are more likely to work jobs that can’t be performed at home, putting them at a greater risk of exposure. In the city’s jails, sanitation and transportation departments, workers are predominantly Black, and as the pandemic progressed they contracted COVID-19 at high rates.

The increased severity of illness among African Americans may also be due in part to underlying health conditions more prevalent among Black people, but Stanford maintains that unequal access to health care is the greatest driver of the disparity.

“When an elderly funeral home director in West Philly tries to get tested

The best DNA testing service is just $99 this Amazon Prime Day

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It works with a simple saliva test you perform at home and send to 23andMe. This test collects your DNA, and the extracted genetic data reveals your ancestral composition and even the percentage of DNA that you share with Neanderthals, which interbred with early humans.

This offer also includes health insights, providing you with information about how your genetics can influence your chances of developing certain health conditions or if you are a carrier for some inherited conditions.

This DNA kit can identify health-related genetic markers for diseases such as celiac disease, late-onset Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. 

It can also look for genetic markers for diseases like Type 2 diabetes, using your genetics, ethnicity and age to calculate a percentage likelihood of developing the disease. The test also looks at a gene associated with muscle composition to reveal whether your composition is common or not in elite athletes. The test will also indicate whether the subject is a carrier of genetic traits such as cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia and hereditary hearing loss.

There’s even a “cilantro taste aversion” test that will let you know whether you are genetically predisposed to dislike cilantro. Perhaps, you already knew though?

23andMe received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in April 2017 for their kits to report whether customers have hereditary traits that put them at risk for developing genetic diseases, according to the Los Angeles Times. However, the presence of a genetic marker for a health disorder does not necessarily mean that the person will develop that disease, the LA Times reported.

Originally published on Live Science.

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Dr. Scott Gottlieb says U.S. coronavirus testing must still improve

Dr. Scott Gottlieb told CNBC on Monday the U.S. still needs to expand and improve its coronavirus testing and contact tracing to bring its epidemic under control — even if it will never be able to employ an operation as rigorous as China.

“We don’t need to have their level of surveillance state to have better testing and tracing in place, and we could be doing a lot better at calling on collective action for people to wear masks on a more routine basis,” Gottlieb said on “Squawk Box.”

The former U.S. Food and Drug Administration commissioner pointed to recent developments in the eastern Chinese city of Qingdao. After 12 cases were reported, the city now plans to test all 9 million residents over the next five days, according to the BBC.

“So they’ll manage to snuff out that outbreak,” said Gottlieb, who served in the Trump administration from May 2017 to April 2019. “We could never do that here. First of all, we don’t have the capacity to do it, and if we did, we’d never get anywhere near the compliance.”

Gottlieb has previously lamented the lack of coronavirus testing in the U.S. as the nation’s outbreak began to grow, causing significant uncertainty about where the virus was actually spreading in March and April. That made widespread stay-at-home orders the only choice to slow the transmission, he has contended.

U.S. testing capacity has expanded for the highly accurate lab-based PCR tests, even though there have been challenges with delayed results. Additionally, new rapid tests for the virus are coming onto the market, adding a layer to the public-health response.

The U.S. has conducted an average of 907,000 tests per day over the last 30 days, according to a CNBC analysis of data from the Covid Tracking Project, an independent volunteer organization launched by journalists at The Atlantic. In April, with much of the nation under lockdown, the daily average of tests was about 177,400.

The increases in testing can explain some of the growth in new daily U.S. coronavirus cases, which averaged almost 51,000 in the last seven days, according to the Covid Tracking Project.

However, Gottlieb still stresses the need for continued improvement to the nation’s response, telling CNBC last week that “having a raging epidemic is not inevitable.” He added, “The entire Pacific Rim has less than 1,000 infections a day,” referring to countries such as China, Thailand, Vietnam, Japan, South Korea and Australia. 

On Monday, Gottlieb acknowledged there are differences between what can be done in the U.S. compared with an authoritarian country such as China, where the coronavirus first emerged late last year. “They’re doing testing and tracing very aggressively, probably more aggressively than we can because we’re just not going to surrender certain liberties,” he said.

In China, for example, government cameras were installed at the doors of people under a 14-day quarantine in order to make sure they don’t leave home, CNBC reported in March. Gottlieb also noted that other Asian countries use

China testing entire city after just 12 cases end COVID-free streak

Beijing — China’s 56-day coronavirus clean streak has been broken. Six people with symptoms and another six without any have tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19 in one city, prompting a dramatic response.



a group of people standing in front of a bus: Medical workers in protective suits collect swabs for nucleic acid tests in Qingdao


© cnsphoto/STRINGER/REUTERS
Medical workers in protective suits collect swabs for nucleic acid tests in Qingdao

All of the cases are linked to a single hospital, the Qingdao Chest Hospital, in the city of Qingdao on China’s eastern coast. The city’s health commission posted the news to Chinese social media site Weibo, and the hospital, about 250 miles southeast of Beijing, has been closed.

Qingdao is home to about 9 million people, more than New York City and twice as many as Los Angeles, and authorities are now in the process of testing every single one of them. They’re determined to finish that process by the end of this week — a remarkable feat, but not unexpected in China. 

Sunday Journal: China emerges from the pandemic

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a group of people standing in front of a bus: Medical workers in protective suits collect swabs for nucleic acid tests during city-wide testing following new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in Qingdao, Shandong province, China, October 12, 2020. / Credit: cnsphoto/STRINGER/REUTERS


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Medical workers in protective suits collect swabs for nucleic acid tests during city-wide testing following new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in Qingdao, Shandong province, China, October 12, 2020. / Credit: cnsphoto/STRINGER/REUTERS

Photos and video making the rounds on both social and state-run media show citizens lining up to be tested.

Officials in Wuhan, which has a slightly larger population, said all of its citizens were tested in just 10 days earlier this year, when it tackled a resurgence of the virus.

For many, the news of new cases, even after almost two months without any, may come as little surprise. The entire country recently came back to work after an 8-day national holiday that saw millions of Chinese on the move.

It was the first major holiday since the coronavirus pandemic was brought under control here. Some 637 million trips were made over the National Day break. To put that in perspective, it’s almost equivalent to every single American doing two trips in the same time frame.



a man standing in front of a refrigerator: Alarming spike of COVID-19 cases across the U... 01:37


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Alarming spike of COVID-19 cases across the U… 01:37

People bought out plane and train tickets and jammed highways to release pent-up frustration after being stuck at home for most of this year.

In the grand scheme of things the new cases in Qingdao are a small blip in China’s officially reported coronavirus numbers. The World Health Organization, which relies on data provided by the Chinese government, has recorded just over 91,000 COVID-19 infections in China, and fewer than 5,000 deaths.

Critics say China’s reported numbers are too low — likely a fair criticism in a country known to cover up bad news.

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China’s Qingdao orders city-wide testing after new COVID-19 infections

SHANGHAI/BEIJING (Reuters) – The Chinese city of Qingdao said on Monday it will test its entire population of more than 9 million people for coronavirus, after discovering 12 new infections that appeared to be linked to a hospital treating imported infections.

Daily COVID-19 infections in mainland China have fallen drastically since early in the outbreak, which first emerged in the city of Wuhan. China had reported no new domestically transmitted cases since early August, but has remained on high alert.

Qingdao reported a total of six new COVID-19 cases and six asymptomatic infections on Sunday, all linked to the Qingdao Chest Hospital, where infected travellers arriving from overseas have been treated in an isolated area.

The specific source of infection was still under investigation, the city government said on Sunday.

The testing would cover the city in five days, the city said.

The new cases were all of current or former patients in Qingdao Chest Hospital, hospital staff, or their family members. One asymptomatic case was a taxi driver whose wife worked at the hospital and was also infected.

Qingdao said it has locked down the Qingdao Chest Hospital as well as the emergency department of its central hospital, which the taxi driver visited. Buildings housing infected individuals have also been locked down as part of the city’s virus containment measures.

The new infections emerged shortly after China completed its Golden Week holiday, during which millions of people travelled domestically.

Disease control authorities in several cities including Beijing advised residents to avoid unnecessary trips to Qingdao. An investment and trade expo in Qingdao organised by the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and scheduled for the weekend of Oct. 16-18 was postponed, state TV reported.

Qingdao’s mass testing campaign is not China’s first. Wuhan tested its entire population, and mass schemes involving several million samples have also been conducted in Beijing and Urumqi.

The National Health Commission’s daily tally reported 21 confirmed COVID-19 cases, but none in Qingdao were included. The number of new nationwide asymptomatic cases, which China counts separately from confirmed cases, rose to 32 from 23 a day earlier, the NHC said. It did not offer a breakdown on where the new asymptomatic cases were reported, although it said 29 were imported.

Total confirmed COVID-19 cases in mainland China now stand at 85,578. The death toll remains at 4,634.

(Reporting by Winni Zhou, Jing Wang and Engen Tham in Shanghai and Roxanne Liu in Beijing; Writing by Se Young Lee; Editing by Christian Schmollinger, Michael Perry and Tom Hogue)

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Testing positive: New York has among lowest state rates of new COVID-19 cases

New York continues to have one of the nation’s lowest rates of people testing positive for the coronavirus, but experts say recent outbreaks and cooler weather could push those numbers up.

The state had the second-lowest positive test rate in the country, according to Covid Act Now, a nonprofit website run by epidemiologists, public health experts, data scientists and others that analyzes COVID-19 data. In the latest analysis, from Saturday, only Maine, at 0.5%,had a lower rate than New York, which was tied with Vermont for the second-lowest positivity rate of 1.2%. Idaho, with 23.9% of people testing positive, had the highest. The group uses a 7-day rolling average of test results.

In March and April, New York was the epicenter for the pandemic in the United States, with hundreds of residents dying of COVID-19 every day.

“We got from where we were in April because we distanced, we isolated, we masked, and the virus ran its course,” said Dr. David Battinelli, chief medical officer of New Hyde Park-based Northwell Health, the state’s largest health system.

New Yorkers take the pandemic more seriously than many other Americans because they lived through the surge in cases that overloaded area hospitals with COVID-19 patients, and they’re more likely to know people who got sick or died from the disease, he said.

“The question about whether this is real, whether it’s a conspiracy, ‘Is it really what they say?,’ ‘I know somebody who didn’t get that sick’ — all that’s been answered locally,” he said.

“There is more fear,” said Sean Clouston, an associate professor of public health at Stony Brook University.

Clouston said he recently viewed live cams in several states and noticed that in New York most or all people were wearing face coverings, while in states like South Carolina, North Dakota and Louisiana, most of those with masks were seniors or people with visible disabilities, and others typically didn’t wear them.

“I think the culture around mask use is very different — the idea you should protect yourself versus the idea you should wear masks to protect everybody,” he said.

Masks both help prevent people from spreading the coronavirus and from being exposed to it themselves. They become even more important as the weather gets cooler and people spend more time indoors, where the virus is much more likely to spread, Clouston said.

New York also took a more gradual approach to reopening its economy, in comparison to mass reopenings in other states, said Dr. Leonard Krilov, an infectious disease specialist at NYU Winthrop Hospital in Mineola and chairman of pediatrics.

“We’ve been more careful,” he said.

He contrasted his 10-year-old daughter’s Long Island school, with strict social-distancing and other restrictions, with the images he’s seen in other states of students crowded together in hallways.

New York also had the sixth-lowest number of daily new cases per 100,000, according to Covid Act Now.

The state’s 7.4 daily new cases per 100,000 residents was much lower than states experiencing surges, such

Nevada Revokes Halt on Rapid Antigen Testing in Nursing Homes

A week later, however, Admiral Giroir cracked down on Nevada’s “illegal” prohibition on BD’s and Quidel’s tests, which he said had imperiled the residents and staff of nursing homes across the state. “They cannot supersede the PREP Act,” he said.

The false positives that had emerged, Admiral Giroir said, were not only expected but “actually an outstanding result.” No test is perfect, he said.

In the Nevada statement, Dr. Azzam reaffirmed his concerns with the number of false positives that had arisen. “If this laboratory data discrepancy had been reported to Dr. Giroir, we would hope he would have taken the same action as Nevada,” he said. “We too want more testing with rapid turnaround in Nevada, but the results of those tests must be accurate, as they affect clinical care.”

The state’s nursing facilities can resume use of BD’s and Quidel’s products, according to a new Nevada directive issued on Oct. 9. But Nevada’s department of health also recommended that all antigen test results, positive or negative, be confirmed by a laboratory test that relies on a slow but very accurate and reliable technique called polymerase chain reaction, or P.C.R. False negatives, officials noted, risk exposing healthy people in nursing homes to someone who is unknowingly contagious. False positives, on the other hand, could prompt the placement of a person who is well into a unit with sick people, also increasing the chance of infection.

“Both of these scenarios could result in causing harm to a population that we have collectively worked so hard to protect,” the directive said. State health officials, it said, would also continue to investigate the use of BD’s and Quidel’s products.

“We need to better understand the issue before encouraging mass use of such tools among our most vulnerable citizens,” Dr. Azzam said. “We are not saying the tests have no use, we are just saying pause for further review and additional training.”

In a statement, Admiral Giroir said he and his colleagues were “pleased” about Nevada’s reversal. “This serves as a valuable public policy discussion that benefits the public interest by deterring unilateral prohibitions or similar actions in other states or jurisdictions,” he said.

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