Federal officials have had eight months since the new coronavirus arrived in the U.S. to work out how to test for Covid-19 well enough to get to grips with the pandemic. They’ve failed. As a result, schools, hospitals and other institutions can’t adequately trace or anticipate outbreaks, or stop contagious people from infecting others. Efforts to reopen the economy will falter until this problem is solved.
And it can in fact be solved. The answer is an additional strategy based on faster though less accurate tests, used far more frequently. The White House and Congress, the Food and Drug Administration and the states should together drive efforts to create, produce and distribute tests that are quick, easy and cheap.