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4:13 PM, Feb 27, 2020

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Ask Dr. Nandi: With many states reopening, coronavirus testing levels still too low, experts say

Posted at 8:07 PM, May 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-04 20:47:18-04

A new analysis that looked at coronavirus testing levels has found that 60% of states do not have sufficient tests readily available. And with many states relaxing their lockdowns, low testing levels could lead to undetected cases and larger outbreaks.

Data was pulled from the COVID Tracking Project that collects and publishes the number of tests processed daily in all 50 states. And what the analysis found, was that only 40% of states could actually test 2% of their population.

Now, health officials have recently said that every state would get enough tests so that 2.6% of their populations could be tested for COVID-19. But unfortunately, this is not yet happening. And to me, this is concerning when you look at how some states like Georgia, Texas, Florida, Colorado and South Carolina that have not met this testing threshold and are either planning to open or have opened up businesses.

We really shouldn’t limit testing to 2.6%. While that might be fine in some states with lower populations, it won’t be enough for states with higher populations.

I feel that testing should be given to whoever has COVID-19 symptoms and wants to be tested. That way, we can effectively know and monitor those who have the coronavirus, which then helps us contain the spread of this very contagious virus.

If we can’t contain it, unfortunately, hospitals could get overwhelmed again and that might lead to some states or certain areas having to shut down again.

Remdesivir is an intravenous antiviral medication that was recently granted emergency-use authorization by the FDA. It is not a cure but has shown it can boost recovery for those with COVID-19. In fact, it has shown that it can shorten recovery time for hospitalized patients by 31%. And on average, patients were able to leave the hospital four days sooner. So this is really good news.

As for a vaccine, it’s possible we may have one ready by January according to the nation's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci. This is being called "Operation Warp Speed". And the plan is to have 100 million doses of the vaccine available by November, then 200 million by December followed by 300 million vaccine doses by January.

But before we get too excited about this news, we must first have a safe and effective vaccine ready to go. Which we don’t yet have.

However, the White House’s coronavirus vaccine project has identified 14 vaccines that they liked to focus on, with hopes that 3 or 4 of them will be successful. So yes, this is good news, but we still have many months ahead of us so it’s imperative that we continue to practice prevention techniques to help keep us safe. Like handwashing, disinfecting, wearing masks and social distancing.

Additional Coronavirus information and resources:

Click here for a page with resources including a COVID-19 overview from the CDC, details on cases in Michigan, a timeline of Governor Gretchen Whitmer's orders since the outbreak, coronavirus' impact on Southeast Michigan, and links to more information from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the CDC and the WHO.

View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.

Find out how you can help businesses and restaurants struggling during the pandemic.

Also, get information about Rebound Mid Michigan, with stories, information and more about coming back from COVID-19

Join the Rebound Mid Michigan Facebook Group.

See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.