3. Our testing capacity has been beefed up.
The number of tests conducted in the country each day has increased dramatically, from less than 100,000 in March to between 200,000 and 300,000 in May.
It is one thing to call for more testing; it takes time and the right materials to make more tests, and it takes lab manpower to conduct them. The Food and Drug Administration has granted 69 companies “emergency use authorizations” to produce tests, which has helped. Roche, the first commercial developer to receive such an authorization for a SARS-CoV-2 test, says it is now producing 15 million tests per month — or roughly 500,000 per day. Meanwhile, Quest Diagnostics, the nation’s largest lab-testing company, says it now “has the capability to perform approximately 50,000 of these diagnostic tests per day, or approximately 350,000 tests per week.”
In fact, one of the surprising problems in this pandemic has been unused testing capacity. A few hospitals, doctors’ offices, and labs are getting more tests than they can use.