"For months, as part of a research project into the flu, [Dr. Helen Y. Chu] and a team of researchers had been collecting nasal swabs from residents experiencing symptoms throughout the Puget Sound region."

"To repurpose the tests for monitoring the coronavirus, they would need the support of state and federal officials. But nearly everywhere Dr. Chu turned, officials repeatedly rejected the idea, interviews and emails show, even as weeks crawled by and outbreaks emerged in countries outside of China, where the infection began. By Feb. 25, Dr. Chu and her colleagues could not bear to wait any longer. They began performing coronavirus tests, without government approval. What came back confirmed their worst fear. They quickly had a positive test from a local teenager with no recent travel history. The coronavirus had already established itself on American soil without anybody realizing it. 'It must have been here this entire time,' Dr. Chu recalled thinking with dread. 'It’s just everywhere already.'... Federal and state officials said the flu study could not be repurposed because it did not have explicit permission from research subjects; the labs were also not certified for clinical work. While acknowledging the ethical questions, Dr. Chu and others argued there should be more flexibility in an emergency during which so many lives could be lost. On Monday night, state regulators told them to stop testing altogether...."

From "'It’s Just Everywhere Already': How Delays in Testing Set Back the U.S. Coronavirus Response/A series of missed chances by the federal government to ensure more widespread testing came during the early days of the outbreak, when containment would have been easier" (NYT).

Coronavirus makes medical ethics look like red tape.

I found that article as I was looking for something about the true number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. I see that, right now, there have been 1,039 cases confirmed in the United States, but, as the linked article makes clear, the testing for the virus has been quite limited.

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