Thanksgiving testing crunch foreshadows strain in December
Americans flocked to coronavirus testing sites in the week leading up to Thanksgiving in search of a clean bill of health for travel, which drove up wait times and strained capacity.
Nationally, Saturday saw a record with 1.98 million tests performed, according to Covid Tracking Project data. California set its own new mark Tuesday. New York state reported a record high of 217,721 tests this week; its statewide positive test rate was 3.18%, up from a seven-day average of 2.89%.
Daily Covid-19 cases climbed throughout November, and communal gatherings over the holiday could expedite the spread, pushing cases to new heights and requiring thousands of added tests. The constraints also foreshadow another round of difficulties in December, when Americans will travel again for the holidays.
Brett Giroir, the Department of Health and Human Services official who leads the administration’s Covid-19 diagnostic testing efforts, said he expects screening to return to earlier levels after Thanksgiving. “People are going to get a test just to see if they’re negative before going on travel,” he said in a briefing this week. “I do believe we’ll be back to a baseline area for those type of tests.”
The U.S. reported an additional 125,082 virus cases Thursday, according to Covid Tracking Project data, though data can stream in slowly over holidays. There have been more than 263,000 deaths cumulatively, according to Johns Hopkins University.
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- The panel also criticised WHO for dragging its feet at the start of the crisis, pointing out that the UN health agency had not convened its emergency committee until January 22, 2020.
- The Capitol Police in a statement said the lockdown was lifted and the fire nearby was contained.
- Law enforcement officials said there was no threat to the public and the fire was not believed to be a threat to the inauguration.