WHO raises global coronavirus alert as U.S. faceplants

The first clear weakness is the low availability of testing, which has mainly been done in labs run by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The agency has sent testing kits to states, but some states reported problems with their kits. The CDC has been trying to work out an unspecified glitch in the kits, but the process has been slow. So far, the CDC has reported testing 459 people, which is just a fraction of the number of people who have been tested in other countries.

“This has not gone as smoothly as we would have liked,” Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said in a press briefing Friday. She reported that the CDC has come up with a workaround that will allow states to increase testing.

Increased testing capacity is critical for identifying new cases and preventing further spread of the virus within the US, particularly with the possibility of community spread—and the community in which the first case was identified points to another weakness.