The US response to the coronavirus outbreak had been plagued by testing debacles and delayed reports of local cases. The country has confirmed more than 1,000 infections and more than 30 deaths as of Wednesday, but health experts anticipate that the total number of cases is likely higher.
Around 80% of coronavirus cases are believed to be mild, which means some patients may never show symptoms. But even mild cases can be infectious, making it difficult to control the virus’ spread. On Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said “there’s a good chance many will become sick” in the US.
In states with major outbreak like Washington and New York, local hospitals have reported a shortage of test kits to identify cases. As of March 8, the CDC had only conducted around 1,700 tests, compared to nearly 200,000 in South Korea.
Here’s a timeline of everything that went wrong with coronavirus testing in the US.