It is now clear that the U.S. response to the potential dangers of the coronavirus infection is inadequate, confused, and—worst of all—putting us all at much greater risk than we need to be.
Our first mistake was in choosing to develop our own diagnostic testing kits, instead of following the available WHO guidelines. It took more than a month since the beginning of the outbreak for the CDC to deliver tests to a handful of labs across the country, only to discover that the kits that were sent were flawed.
The second mistake was in determining who qualified for testing. Initially only patients with recent travel to China and who showed symptoms of COVID-19 were approved for testing. It was only this week, on Tuesday, when the administration relented and allowed all Americans to be tested, if needed.
But even with this step forward, our mistakes continue. Our government is now punting the testing problem down to the States. While finally allowing States to develop their own FDA approved testing kits to make testing more available, the government is now holding States solely accountable for tracking the number of people tested. On Monday, the CDC stopped reporting national numbers of people tested on their website, claiming that now that States were conducting tests themselves the CDC no longer had the most up to date figures.
Originally published on Forbes (March 9, 2020)