WASHINGTON — The U.S. government’s top testing official says it’s not possible to return all coronavirus test results to patients within three days because of overwhelming demand.
Adm. Brett Giroir told a congressional panel that eventually the U.S. should achieve that time frame. Many health experts say coronavirus results are not helpful when delivered after two or three days because the window for contact tracing has closed.
Americans across much of the West and South faced long lines and delays of a week or more in obtaining their test results. Giroir says about 75% of testing results are coming back within five days, but the remainder are taking longer.
Rapid, widespread testing is critical to containing the coronavirus outbreak, but the U.S. effort has been plagued by supply shortages and backlogs. President Donald Trump has downplayed the importance of testing and falsely claimed the nation’s number of coronavirus cases is solely due to the high testing rate.
The U.S. leads the world with nearly 4.5 million cases and more than 150,000 confirmed deaths.