April 16, 2020/Press

Coronavirus Testing Slows As Deaths, Hospitalizations in NC Rise

RALEIGH – North Carolina’s number of confirmed coronavirus cases had risen to 5,500 as of Thursday morning, while state Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen said Wednesday that ongoing PPE shortages remain a “limiting factor” in the effort to curb the spread of the virus.

North Carolina has now reported at least 149 deaths related to COVID-19, more than doubling over the last week. As President Trump begins to make grand promises about reopening the U.S. economy, public health experts are sounding the alarm and say that testing levels are still woefully insufficient:

  • The New York Times reports that health experts say COVID-19 testing is still not sufficiently available for the President to begin loosening restrictions:

“As President Trump pushes to reopen the economy, most of the country is not conducting nearly enough testing to track the path and penetration of the coronavirus in a way that would allow Americans to safely return to work, public health officials and political leaders say.”

  • The Washington Post reports that the “disorganized and scattershot” effort to find a treatments and a vaccine are hindering progress:

“It’s a cacophony — it’s not an orchestra. There’s no conductor … My heart aches over the complete chaos in the response.” — Derek Angus, Chair of the Department of Critical Care Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

  • According to the Wall Street Journal, even business leaders are urging the Trump administration to ramp up testing before trying to send Americans back to work:

“Banking and financial services executives told President Trump that his administration needed to dramatically increase the availability of coronavirus testing before the public would be confident enough to return to work, eat at restaurants or shop in retail establishments, according to people familiar with the matter.”

  • Politico reports that testing cratered over the last week even as the number of deaths and confirmed cases continued to climb to new levels:

“The number of coronavirus tests analyzed each day by commercial labs in the U.S. plummeted by more than 30 percent over the past week, even though new infections are still surging in many states and officials are desperately trying to ramp up testing so the country can reopen.”