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U.S. Labs Face Crisis After Crisis Despite Improvements in Testing

Coronavirus testing has become a massive logistical failure, one that’s made it impossible to know how much the virus has truly spread.

Healthcare workers places a vial into a Quest Diagnostics bag at a drive-thru testing site in Washington, D.C., on April 2.
Healthcare workers places a vial into a Quest Diagnostics bag at a drive-thru testing site in Washington, D.C., on April 2.Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

In the fight against Covid-19, U.S. hospitals, test manufacturers and labs have found themselves careening from one crisis to the next.

First, as the number of those infected with the novel coronavirus mushroomed, tests in many places were so scarce that only the sickest could be tested.