White House lays out its COVID-19 testing plan

Coronavirus press conference
Deborah Birx, the White House’s coronavirus response coordinator, shows a flowchart for a website that would screen online visitors for COVID-19 testing, with President Donald Trump at her side. (White House via YouTube)

The Trump administration says it will set up a nationwide screening and testing system for coronavirus that relies upon online self-screening and drive-through sampling stations in store parking lots.

Lots of details about the system have yet to be fleshed out.

For example, the website that will take Americans through the screening process hasn’t yet been finished. Hundreds of parking-lot stations will have to be set up. And it could be challenging to ramp up operations, not only for test-kit production but also for other supplies and personnel.

Meanwhile, the COVID-19 outbreak continues to widen. More than 2,100 confirmed cases have been identified in the U.S., including 568 in Washington state. Thirty-two of the nearly 50 U.S. deaths recorded so far have occurred in King County.

Epidemiologists say it’s likely that tens of thousands of Americans, if not hundreds of thousands, have the virus but have not been tested. They expect the death toll to rise as well.

Get the full story on GeekWire.

By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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