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In Coronavirus Testing Ramp-Up, U.S. Called Private Sector in Late

‘Losing a few days is bad, and losing a couple of weeks is terrible’

Medical personnel collect a sample from a patient at a drive-thru Covid-19 testing clinic in San Francisco, California, on March 12. 

Medical personnel collect a sample from a patient at a drive-thru Covid-19 testing clinic in San Francisco, California, on March 12. 

Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Every outbreak of a new disease is a race between the pathogen and the people trying to stop it: At first, the virus is somewhere out in front. Catch up with it before new patients become contagious, and it can be surrounded and cut off. Let it run too far ahead, and the race is lost.

In the U.S., the race to contain the new coronavirus with testing is all but over.