The Latest: A new strategy for Covid-19 testing

Alexandra Sifferlin
Medium Coronavirus Blog
3 min readJul 1, 2020


Dear Reader,

During a Senate hearing yesterday, Dr. Anthony Fauci said: “What was thought to be unimaginable turns out to be the reality we’re facing right now.” He added that the U.S. does not have the virus under control and warned that without better efforts to combat Covid-19, “it is going to be very disturbing.”

Specifically, he shared that if the trajectory of the outbreak remains, the U.S. could see as many as 100,000 new Covid-19 cases a day.

The benefit for the U.S. is that there are models for how to successfully tamp down the pandemic. Multiple countries around the world have done so. The tactics include distancing, mask-wearing, and contact tracing (you can read about the United States’ lackluster contact tracing efforts here).

What else you should know:

  • Case count: There are over 2.6 million confirmed cases in the U.S. and over 10.5 million confirmed cases worldwide. So far, more than 129,500 Americans have died from Covid-19.
  • The U.S. buys up the world stock of remdesivir: The Trump administration has bought more than 500,000 doses, which is all of Gilead’s production for July and 90% of August and September, The Guardian reports.
  • Americans are not allowed into the EU: Europe will allow visitors beginning today, but the United States, Russia, and Brazil are among the countries considered too risky due to a lack of Covid-19 control. Read more.
  • Indoor dining is postponed in a few places: New York City will no longer allow indoor dining on July 6 as previously planned. On Monday, Governor Phil Murphy said that after seeing Covid-19 spikes in other states New Jersey will “postpone indoor dining indefinitely.”

Follow our Medium Coronavirus Blog for regular updates, and read some of the essential stories we’ve curated below.

Be well,

Alexandra Sifferlin
Editor, Medium Coronavirus Blog

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A quick Q&A: What is pool testing?

Health experts in the United States are considering a new testing strategy — called pool or pooled testing — that they say could be more efficient. On a basic level, pool testing is a way to do disease surveillance without needing to run tests for every individual person (though you still need their samples). Samples from multiple people — like say, coronavirus nasal swabs — are tested together in a single tube. Even though the samples are mixed together, the test provides a single result for that grouping of samples. It’s a strategy that makes sense in a setting with lots of people but low virus spread. Countries like Singapore and Germany have used the methods in nursing homes, for example.

Read the full story here.

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Alexandra Sifferlin
Medium Coronavirus Blog

Health and science journalist. Former editor of Medium’s Covid-19 Blog and deputy editor at Elemental. TIME Magazine writer before that