The Trump administration has released coronavirus testing targets for May, an aggressive expansion that would have some states doubling, quadrupling and even, in the case of Puerto Rico, completing 5.6 times the number they had done through late April.
The White House announced on May 11 that states had set the goals in partnership with the Trump administration, but didn’t release specifics. The breakdown of targets by state was released Sunday as part of a testing plan outlined by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in a report to Congress.
The HHS plan calls for about 12.9 million tests this month. States are nearly two-thirds of the way to meeting that goal, with roughly 8.3 million administered as of Monday, according to the Covid Tracking Project, a volunteer initiative to track virus data. HHS spokespeople didn’t respond to requests for comment on the delay in releasing the targets the states had set.
Mass testing is essential to understanding the virus’s spread and quelling outbreaks. The HHS goals highlight the administration’s approach, which has largely placed the responsibility on the states. However experts say that a stronger federal role is required to solve issues like shortages of key materials that are bogging down testing.
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