US Virus Testing Faces New Headwind: Lab Supply Shortages

FILE - In this Wednesday, March 11, 2020 file photo, a technician prepares COVID-19 coronavirus patient samples for testing at a laboratory in New York's Long Island. Wide scale testing is a critical part of tracking and containing infectious diseases. But the U.S. effort has been plagued by a series of missteps, including accuracy problems with the test kits the CDC sent to other labs and bureaucratic hurdles that slowed the entrance of large, private sector labs. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

(AP) — The long-delayed effort to ramp up screening for the coronavirus in the U.S. is facing a new challenge: critical shortages of laboratory supplies. Public health officials warn of dwindling levels of testing chemicals, swabs and other testing needs. Some labs have had to cut back or halt testing due to lack of supplies. Wide scale testing is a critical part of containing infectious diseases. But a series of stumbles have left the U.S. weeks trailing behind most other developed countries. Now laboratory workers worry the introduction of drive-thru testing and mass screening will further pressure supplies.

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