Up to a million people could be tested for coronavirus by the end of week, the Trump administration said Monday, as cases across the US rose to more than 100 and health officials warned that the number will keep climbing.Cases of the virus have now been reported in 12 states — the majority of them in California and Washington state, where six people have died.About a quarter of the current cases were likely transmitted through US communities, officials have said, meaning they were not travel-related.”My concern is as the next week or two or three go by, we’re going to see a lot more community-related cases,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in a news conference Monday. “That’s of great concern.”
The number of cases has been climbing as new guidelines from health officials gave more labs the go-ahead to conduct tests. Faulty kits from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention initially led to delayed and inconclusive results.
Over the weekend, the US Food and Drug Administration further expanded who could test for the virus by allowing additional labs to develop their own test for the virus. The move, the agency said, would enable more rapid testing capacity in the US. “We believe this policy strikes the right balance during this public health emergency,” FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn said in a statement. “We will continue to help to ensure sound science prior to clinical testing and follow-up with the critical independent review from the FDA, while quickly expanding testing capabilities in the U.S.”With more labs testing for the virus, the CDC stopped publishing the number of patients tested in the country — a figure it had so far kept track of on its website. In an email to CNN Tuesday, the agency said, “Now that states are testing and reporting their own results, CDC’s numbers may not represent all of the testing being done nationwide.”