The Trump administration says more than 120 million tests will be available in October nationwide. But far fewer Americans are actually being tested: only around 1 million per day, less than 30 million per month.
“I think people are confused. They don’t know what to do, whether to get a test. I think there was messaging as well — don’t get tested unless you really need it because you’re taking a test from someone else,” said Fred Turner, CEO of Curative, one of the nation’s top COVID testing companies. “The country now has more testing capacity.”
After a slow start, a growing number of Americans every day are swirling their cheeks, tickling their throats and plunging white swabs into their nostrils in search of the virus.
Soon, experts say, it might be done easily and cheaply in the privacy of your own home.
“We are getting to the point that there might be some candidates,” said Adm. Brett Giroir, the Trump administration’s testing czar on the prospect of at-home COVID tests. “I think we’ll get there. We’re not there yet.”
For now, public health officials and lab companies need more people to give samples.
Shifting Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines on who should be tested and when have caused confusion, experts say, along with President Donald Trump’s comment over the summer that he told top officials to “slow the testing down, please.”
Lengthy processing delays in some areas during the late summer months are also said to have compounded the impression that not everyone who wants to get tested could get tested.
“We definitely want people to be tested,” said Giroir.
“If you’re symptomatic you need to get tested. If you’ve been in close contact with a person known to have the disease, you should get tested,” Gioir told ABC News Live. “We need to have many individuals tested on a routine basis who are asymptomatic with no known exposure. We call that surveillance testing.”
ABC News got an exclusive look inside Curative’s lab in Washington, D.C., where more than 350 lab technicians and medical experts work around the clock to process more than 40,000 tests a day.
“We have extra capacity as well. So this is all designed to have scale-up capacity to 100,000 samples per day,” Turner said. The company handles nearly