testing

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As he toured the state earlier this month to promote his plans to reopen Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis repeatedly touted testing for COVID-19 antibodies as a signal that immunity may be lurking, undetected, among the population.

Updated at 2 p.m. ET

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, warned Tuesday of states and localities skipping over federal guidelines while trying to lift restrictions and restart their economies amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking remotely during a unique Senate health committee hearing, Fauci told lawmakers that his concern is that if some areas "jump over" guidelines from the federal government and "prematurely open up," there will be "little spikes that turn into outbreaks."

The coronavirus has in recent days edged closer to President Trump. At least two White House aides who've been in proximity to the president and the vice president have tested positive for COVID-19.

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You might have never heard the phrase "contact tracing" until recently.

To safely phase out social distancing measures, the U.S. needs more diagnostic testing for the coronavirus, experts say. But how much more?

The Trump administration said on April 27 that the U.S. will soon have enough capacity to conduct double the current amount of testing for active infections. The country has done nearly 248,000 tests daily on average in the past seven days, according to the nonprofit COVID Tracking Project. Doubling that would mean doing about 496,000 a day.

Will that be enough? What benchmark should states try to hit?

States clamoring for coronavirus tests in recent weeks have been talking about two types.

First, there's a PCR test that detects the virus's genetic material and so can confirm an active infection. And then there's an antibody test, which looks at the body's reaction to that infection and so is useful in identifying people who have been infected with the virus in the past.

Testing is the key that will unlock normalization for millions of Americans.

It's the doorway between the disaster response mode of the pandemic and confidence about returning to work, school and life. And it's also still apparently weeks or more away from scaling to a level that will make a big difference for most people in most places.

Precisely how far away isn't clear, although President Trump and a pageant of guests attempted on Monday to sell the idea that victory is just around the corner.

Updated 11:35 a.m. ET

When it comes to testing for COVID-19, there are two competing narratives. The Trump administration claims the U.S. has been doing well and has enough testing capacity, for states to begin to enter the first phase of the White House plan for reopening.

But many public health officials, hospital administrators and state leaders disagree.

Earlier this week, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said during a CNN interview that a lack of testing is a problem and "has been since the beginning of the crisis."

NATASHA SCHAEFER SOLLE / University of Miami via Miami Herald

Early indications from a University of Miami survey to measure the true infection rate of the new coronavirus across Miami-Dade County suggest a higher infection rate than detected by state health officials.

The Department of Health and Human Services is stepping back from a plan to end support on Friday for community-based coronavirus testing sites around the country.

Instead, the agency says local authorities can choose whether they want to transition to running the programs themselves or continue with federal oversight and help.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has temporarily suspended trading of shares of Wellness Matrix Group, citing statements "made through affiliated websites and a company consultant about selling at-home COVID-19 testing kits that had been approved by the FDA."

The suspension lasts until April 22.

Alejandra Martinez / WLRN

On this Monday, April 6, episode of Sundial:

Navigating South Florida’s unemployment crisis

The number of Floridians applying for unemployment benefits continues to rise as thousands of people are being laid off in masses due to this coronavirus. 

During his Thursday night briefing with the coronavirus task force, President Trump repeated a claim that the United States has done more testing for the contagion on a per capita basis than any other country.

The Trump administration announced Monday that the federal government was making it much easier to collect samples to test people for the coronavirus.

A new "self swab" technique would enable people to collect their own samples, making the process much simple, quicker and possibly safer, officials said at a White House briefing.

Matias Ocner / WLRN

The student survivors of the Parkland shooting might get a break from this year’s state exams.

The Florida Senate on Monday passed House Bill 7055, a controversial education bill that is a major priority of House Speaker Richard Corcoran, in a 20-17 vote. But first, the chamber amended the bill to include a little help for Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students.

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