The Corner

Coronavirus Update

Coronavirus Update: Testing Ramps Up as Doctors Consider Potential Treatment

A doctor in protective suite waits for patients in a special tent for coronavirus disease cases near a hospital in Lublin, Poland, March 23, 2020. (Jakub Orzechowski, Agencja Gazeta/Reuters)
Last updated March 24, 10am EST

Yesterday, Washington governor Jay Inslee ordered a mandatory, state-wide stay-at-home order, barring residents from going outside except for essential business, doctor’s appointments, and grocery shopping. While Washington’s restrictions are more draconian than those in New York or California, the state has had considerable success in slowing the spread of the virus. At 262 cases per 1 million residents, Washington has fewer cases per capita than New York, New Jersey, and Louisiana, despite having had the first known case of coronavirus in the U.S.

Graph: Daniel Tenreiro
Data: covidtracking.com, U.S. Census Bureau

New York and Washington remain well ahead of their peers in testing, but California and Massachusetts have ramped up in recent days. Connecticut, which has relatively few cases and is early in its outbreak, will provide a useful case study in the efficacy of early testing. If the state succeeds in slowing the spread of the virus, it could very well be due to its robust diagnostic capacities. Together with its tri-state peers, Connecticut has issued closures of nonessential businesses.

Graph: Daniel Tenreiro
Data: covidtracking.com, U.S. Census Bureau

As I’ve mentioned in these updates, the initial lack of testing capacity proved to be a major hurdle in the U.S. response to coronavirus. Thankfully, domestic testing has ramped up dramatically in the last week, with a 25 percent daily average increase in tests.

Graph: Daniel Tenreiro
Data: covidtracking.com

Meanwhile, hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malaria drug, has shown some initial success in treating COVID-19 patients. Chinese researchers published a study finding that the drug was effective against the virus in vitro. In New York, it is now being administered along with azithromycin to treat certain patients. Trump has touted hydroxychloroquine, but its effectiveness has not yet been definitely proven.

Graph: Daniel Tenreiro
Data: covidtracking.com, U.S. Census Bureau

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