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Reduced demand for coronavirus tests could put the United States at risk

Experts predicted that the drop in demand for Corona tests could put the United States at risk. Just five weeks ago, Los Angeles was conducting more than 350,000 weekly tests for the Corona virus, including at a huge car site in Dodger Stadium, where workers in the field raced Health to contain the worst hotspot for the Corona virus in the United States, and now, county officials have confirmed that tests have reduced demand for them, and more than 180 government-supported sites are operating at only a third of their capacity.

"It's horrible how quickly we went from moving at 100 miles an hour to about 25," said Dr. Clemens Hong, who leads the testing process in Los Angeles.

After a year of struggling to boost testing, communities across the country are seeing a sharp drop in demand for coronavirus tests, shutting down test sites or even trying to bring supplies back.

The drop in screening comes at an important moment in the outbreak: Experts are cautiously optimistic that Corona is receding after more than 500,000 people have been killed in the United States, but they are concerned that the emerging variables could prolong the pandemic.

"Everyone is hoping for rapid and widespread vaccines, but I don't think we're at a point where we can drop our warning as yet we don't have enough people with immunity to rule out another surge," said Hong.

Tests in the United States peaked on January 15, when the country averaged more than 2 million daily tests since then, the average number of daily tests has dropped by more than 28%.

The decline has eased in all major virus measures since January, including new cases, hospitalizations and deaths.

Officials say these encouraging trends, combined with severe winter weather, the end of the holiday travel season, epidemic fatigue and a growing focus on vaccines, are undermining interest in testing.

"When you put all of those together, you see that drop," said Dr. Richard Piscator of the Delaware Department of Health, where daily tests have fallen by more than 40% since the January peak. `` People just won't go to test sites, but testing remains important for tracking and containing the outbreak.

With more than 150 million new vaccine doses due to be delivered by late March, testing is likely to fall further as local governments shift staff and resources to administering vaccines.

"You have to choose your battles here," said Dr. Geoffrey Engel of the State Council and regional epidemiologists. "Everyone agrees that if you had one GP, she would use that person for the vaccination, not for the test."

And some experts said the country should double testing to avoid outbreaks of the coronavirus variants that have spread in the UK, South Africa and elsewhere.

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