As the United States overtakes China and Italy with the highest number of reported cases of the coronavirus, the Food and Drug Administration has approved a diagnostic test by Abbott Laboratories that can screen patients within minutes. The test can be used in various medical facilities, from hospitals to urgent care clinics to doctors’ offices.
Abbott plans to start shipping the ID NOW COVID-19 tests next week with a target of manufacturing up to 50,000 tests per day. The test can deliver positive results in five minutes and negative results in 13 minutes.
Says Robert B. Ford, president of Abbott,
“The Covid-19 pandemic will be fought on multiple fronts, and a portable molecular test that offers results in minutes adds to the broad range of diagnostic solutions needed to combat this virus. With rapid testing on ID NOW, healthcare providers can perform molecular point-of-care testing outside the traditional four walls of a hospital in outbreak hotspots.”
New York, the epicenter of the pandemic in the US, is bracing for a surge in patients. Governor Andrew Cuomo says the state is preparing for the unprecedented challenge by building eight temporary hospitals.
The state has confirmed roughly 44% of the 104,686 cases in the US.
Meanwhile, the governor of Rhode Island, Gina Raimondo, has identified New York City as a risk to its residents. Police are tracking down cars with New York license plates to stop the flight of potentially infected people who are trying to flee the epicenter.
The National Guard will step in on Saturday, conducting searches by knocking on doors across Rhode Island to find those at risk from New York and to enforce a 14-day self-quarantine as part of a major effort to stop the outbreak.
Today, I also announced extensions to several executive orders on travel, business closures, and more. Please see those details here. https://t.co/WzAY3o7F6N
— Gina Raimondo (@GovRaimondo) March 28, 2020
In hard-hit Italy, Pope Francis addressed an empty St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican City where there are four reported cases. He blessed and comforted Catholics and people on lockdown around the world, sending his message through social media, television and radio.
“We have gone ahead at breakneck speed, feeling powerful and able to do anything. Greedy for profit, we let ourselves get caught up in things, and lured away by haste…
We were not shaken awake by wars or injustice across the world, nor did we listen to the cry of the poor or of our ailing planet. We carried on regardless, thinking we would stay healthy in a world that was sick.”
The Pope also praised “ordinary people” who are forgotten. He commended healthcare workers who are on the frontlines, supermarket employers trying to distribute food, police forces that are trying to maintain order, as well as the clergy, who find themselves altogether before the coronavirus “tempest” standing “in the same boat”.
Pope Francis has prayed and delivered an "Urbi et Orbi" blessing – normally given only at Christmas and Easter – from an empty St Peter's Square amid the #coronavirus pandemic.
— Sky News (@SkyNews) March 27, 2020
The global health crisis also brought together NBA star Stephen Curry and Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, for a Q&A session on Covid-19.
“Early on, several weeks ago, we were not in a place where we needed to be or wanted to be. We did not have as much accessibility of testing as we now have and that we will have going forward.
Right now there are literally hundreds of thousands of tests that are out there, now mostly because we got the private sector involved. The companies who know how to make it and make it well, make large amounts. So we’re going very much in the right direction.”
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