More than 30 states are still not meeting the testing goals necessary to control the new coronavirus, new data show.
Researchers found that only 18 states meet the minimum goals of reducing COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, and only four do enough to suppress it.
All of them have performed enough coronavirus tests per 100,000 inhabitants and get less than 10 percent positive results.
Since early May, the daily test across the country has doubled from about 250,000 tests per day to more than 500,000.
However, one million tests per day are required for states to manage the current outbreaks, and 4.3 million per day are required to get the percentage of people who test positive at or below three percent, according to Harvard Global Health estimates Institute (HGHI), exclusively obtained by NPR.
A new analysis from Harvard found that only 18 states in the U.S. meet test levels enough to mitigate or suppress the new coronavirus (above)
However, states like Florida and Texas are testing far fewer people than necessary, and both have recently had to reverse reopenings. Pictured: A health worker takes a swab sample from a driver to perform a coronavirus test at a test site in the Hard Rock Stadium parking lot in Miami Gardens, Florida, June 29
Only four states, Alaska, Hawaii, Montana, and Vermont, are doing enough testing to suppress the virus. Pictured: intensive care nurse Molly Spaeny (right) with St Vincent Healthcare cleaning a patient for a coronavirus test at a drive-thru testing center outside the hospital in Billings, Montana, June 18
For the analysis, researchers first looked at mitigation level tests to reduce the severity of the coronavirus.
This focuses on reducing the spread of the virus by testing symptomatic people, contracting tracing and isolating those who test positive, and taking measures such as social distance and wearing face masks.
While testing the level of mitigation is not enough to prevent the spread of the community, it is on the way to oppression.
Currently, only 18 states meet or exceed test targets for mitigation levels: Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Vermont, Washington DC, West Virginia and Wyoming.
This means that you must run enough tests daily to get 10 percent or less positive results.
For example, New York has to test 152 per 100,000 people for mitigation and is currently crossing that threshold, testing 309 per 100,000.
The states are in stages of reopening with Long Island in phase III, but New York City is still phase II.
In addition, its neighbor, New Jersey, has to test 83 people per 100,000 residents daily, and currently 220 people are tested daily.
Meanwhile, states like Florida – one of the nation’s new hotspots – are still not testing enough people.
To counter this, The Sunshine State should test 663 per 100,000 people, but only 196 per 100,000 will be tested.
Universal Studios Florida is seen with fewer customers than usual in Orlando as new COVID-19 cases soar to record highs in Florida and the US, June 27
In Texas, 133 per 100,000 people are tested, but 404 per 100,000 are needed to reduce it.
Both states have had to reverse the reopening as cases and hospital admissions continue to rise to record levels.
Friday ordered the governors of Texas and Florida to close their bars. Texas also closed the tubing and rafting activities, while Florida closed some beaches on July 4.
Researchers then looked at the suppression level testing, namely to quickly find and isolate new cases, so that new case levels are near or near zero.
This requires regular testing of asymptomatic people in high-risk areas such as nursing homes and contract tracking and isolation, as well as measures such as social distance and wearing masks.
Only four states, Alaska, Hawaii, Montana, and Vermont – with West Virginia right behind – have reached the minimum level of suppression testing.
The outbreaks of these states were not very big to begin with, and with a relatively small population, it doesn’t take as many tests to reach a minimum rate, but the team says their respective health departments should be commended.
This also means that the four states will get three percent or less tests back positive.
“What we all really want is to suppress the virus, get the virus level so low that not many people get sick and die, and that we can open our economy,” said Dr. Ashish Jha, director of HGHI, according to a press release.
“Where people go out to restaurants and bars and open schools with confidence without major outbreaks and without having to close again. That life is starting to return to normal. ‘
In order to meet the target of suppression testing, Alaska must test 239 per 100,000 people, exceeding that by testing 349 per 100,000.
Hawaii only needs to test 23 per 100,000 people, but the state of Aloha currently tests 85 per 100,000.
“I think it’s possible” to control outbreaks, Jha told NPR.
“It will not be easy. But it requires leadership and it requires commitment from our country that says, “We really want to open our country safely and we want to get our lives back.”