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For months now, you have woken each day to a world that is both maddening and heartbreaking. You sip coffee and scroll through the day’s stories, scanning for hope, bracing for despair, at times uncertain which one you were meant to feel.

One day you read a headline: “Your Coronavirus Test Is Positive. Maybe It Shouldn’t Be.”


You read on. A huge number of people testing positive carry “relatively insignificant amounts of the virus,” it says. Most are “not likely to be contagious.” On Twitter, an alarming message from the author: “90% (!!) of people who get a positive result are no longer contagious and don’t need to isolate. …

America was never prepared for this

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Photo: MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle/Getty Images

As has been widely reported, a major bottleneck in addressing the novel coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. is the extremely limited testing capacity. While South Korea has tested over a quarter million people, the U.S. has performed only 33,000 tests to date*, just three times South Korea’s daily testing capacity. Speculations about negligence, incompetence, and deliberate conspiracy have been floating around to explain this discrepancy. In reality, as is almost always the case, the factors impacting the U.S.’s ability to ramp up testing are incredibly complex. …


Anna Minkina

@Anna_Minkina is a PhD Candidate in Genome Sciences at the University of Washington in Seattle, where she develops novel genomics technologies.

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