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Here's the latest:
As New York reached an all-time high of COVID-19 tests on Friday, nationwide, the average number of daily tests has dropped in August compared to July.
The Times reports that 733,000 people were tested each day on average so far in August, compared to 750,000 in July, according to its analysis of the COVID Tracking Project's data. And though there were more than 800,000 tests conducted Thursday and Friday, the seven-day average dropped to 709,000 on Monday. On Saturday, there were about 739,000 tests conducted nationwide.
While the country's testing numbers have risen over the course of the pandemic, the U.S. still falls short of some expert recommendations on how many coronavirus tests should be conducted each day to slow the spread of the virus.
"There is no expert that I know of that thinks that our testing infrastructure right now meets the needs of the American people," the director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, Dr. Ashish Jha, told the Times. The institute recommends 1 to 4 million tests per day, the latter that would help stop new cases.
The Trump administration's virus testing czar and assistant secretary of health at the Department of Health and Human Services, Adm. Brett P. Giroir, has said it is unrealistic to test millions a day, according to the Times.
"This has been a strategy combined with strategic testing, not shotgun testing, but strategic testing," Giroir said on MSNBC Thursday. By September, he said, "we expect to have well over 85 million tests available, the capacity. That's not our goal, but available to support the American people and our strategies."
Days or weeks of waiting for test results could be discouraging some Americans from getting tested. A CNBC analysis suggests 40 percent of Americans are waiting longer than three days for results, making the tests close to "useless."
Giroir said on MSNBC said the one-to-two week turnaround times were outliers.
President Donald Trump has repeated the claim this summer that the high number of COVID-19 cases is due to high testing numbers—though these claims are false, and omit the reality that indicators like hospitalizations and death rates would rise, too, whether or not there's testing to show for it. As STAT News put it last month: "It’s hard to argue that extremely sick people, let alone dead people, had been obscured by low levels of testing but suddenly revealed by higher levels." By early August, approximately 1,000 deaths a day were attributed to COVID-19, over twice as many as in early July.
Meanwhile, New York State reached a record high for reported tests at 88,668 on Friday. Another 77,692 test results were reported to the state Saturday, with .78 percent positive.
All told, 7 million COVID-19 tests have been conducted in New York State since the beginning of the health crisis, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Sunday morning.
"Our numbers reflect the hard work of New Yorkers, and as other states across the nation see surging cases, our numbers remain steadily low," Cuomo said. The positive rate has remained below 1 percent statewide for nine days in a row. Six people died Saturday of the virus.