USA TODAY US Edition
Plunging test demand may leave US exposed
After a year of struggling to boost testing, communities across the country are seeing plummeting demand, shuttering testing sites or even trying to return supplies. U.S. testing hit a peak on Jan. 15, when the country was averaging more than 2 million tests per day. Since then, the average number of daily tests has fallen more than 28%. The drop mirrors declines across all major virus measures since January, including new cases, hospitalizations and deaths.
Officials say those encouraging trends, together with harsh winter weather, the end of the holiday travel season, pandemic fatigue and a growing focus on vaccinations, are sapping interest in testing. But testing remains important for tracking and containing the outbreak.
“We need to use testing to continue the downward trend,” said Dr. Jonathan Quick of the Rockefeller Foundation, which has been advising Biden officials. “We need to have it there to catch surges from the variants.”