Most US states fall short of recommended testing levels

An employee from Quest Diagnostics looks inside the COVID-19 virus test collection box at a drive thru for the CVS Pharmacy in Danvers, Mass., Friday, May 15, 2020. CVS has expanded their testing sites. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Graduating senior Yasmine Protho, 18, wears a photo of herself and Class of 2020 on her protective mask amid the coronavirus pandemic as she graduates with only 9 other classmates at a time with limited family attending at Chattahoochee County High School on Friday, May 15, 2020, in Cusseta, Ga. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
A man is tested at a temporary COVID-19 test clinic during the coronavirus pandemic in Montreal, on Friday, May 15, 2020. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press via AP)
Dr. Charles Collins gets his hair cut by barber Lannie Hale at the Waveland Barber Stylist shop, Friday, May 15, 2020, in Des Moines, Iowa. Friday was the first day Hale was allowed to reopen his shop after being closed for nearly two months due to the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Tobias Morales disinfects gaming machines in preparation for the reopening of Lucky Star Casino after a temporary shutdown due to coronavirus concerns, Friday, May 15, 2020, in Concho, Okla. Employees are required to wear facial coverings while facial coverings are encouraged for casino guests. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Medical workers move a coronavirus patient at an intensive care unit of the Filatov City Clinical Hospital in Moscow, Russia, Friday, May 15, 2020. Russian capital, with a population of more than 12 million, accounts for half of the country's more than 262,000 reported infections. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
A customer leaves the Maine Hardware store where an artistic rendition of a moose, the state animal, decorates an outside wall, Friday, May 15, 2020, in Portland, Maine. Another 38 people tested positive for the new coronavirus but there were no deaths in the previous 24 hours, the Maine Center for Disease Control reported Friday. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
From left, Tejmur, Naile, Layla and Emil Hacimuradov from Neuwied enjoy to feed sparrows as they have breakfast in a bakery at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany, Friday, May 15, 2020. After month of a nationwide lockdown restaurants are reopening in more German states on Friday. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
Protesters demonstrate during a rally against Pennsylvania's coronavirus stay-at-home order at the state Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa., Friday, May 15, 2020. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
A medical healthcare worker drops a specimen collection into a container after testing a motorist for COVID-19 at a community testing site in the parking lot of La Flor de Jalisco #2 in Gainesville, Ga., Friday, May 15, 2020. (Alyssa Pointer/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)
Workers line up for medical workers to take swabs for the coronavirus test at a large factory in Wuhan in central China's Hubei province Friday, May 15, 2020. Wuhan have begun testing inhabitants for the coronavirus as a program to test everyone in the Chinese city of 11 million people in 10 days got underway. (Chinatopix Via AP)
Medical personnel place a swab in a specimen container at a drive-thru COVID-19 testing site, Thursday, May 14, 2020 in Crestview, Fla. Officials in Florida panhandle's Okaloosa County have begun offering regular free drive-thru COVID-19 testing for county residents at various sites around Okaloosa County.(Devon Ravine/Northwest Florida Daily News via AP)
Virus_Outbreak_Washington_State_95154 Tina Nguyen, a nurse at at the International Community Health Services clinic in Seattle's International District, examines a nose swab while conducting walk- and drive-up testing for COVID-19, Friday, May 15, 2020. As testing supplies for coronavirus have become more abundant, the clinic has been able to offer testing to anyone in the community by appointment if they are experiencing symptoms. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Emily Dragoo, center, a teacher at Apollo Jr. High hands out food to Richardson Independent School District families at a distribution site in Dallas, Friday, May 15, 2020. Approximately 250 bags of food were handed out at this location Friday. Each bag contains two days worth of lunch and breakfast items. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
A couple wearing protective masks from the coronavirus walk down the street in the Westwood section of Los Angeles on Friday, May 15, 2020. Leaving home in Los Angeles now requires bringing a face covering, part of the price for reopening more businesses and activities in America's second-largest city, which is moving cautiously as less-populated areas of California press ahead. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)
A father and son wait for the Thunderbirds flyover the famed Hollywood sign but were disappointed when they flew several miles south of the sign during the coronavirus outbreak, Friday, May 15, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Cyclists wearing protective masks walk with food from Nathan's Famous past a graffiti art mural by Tats Cru toward the boardwalk of Coney Island Beach Friday, May 15, 2020, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
A customer is silhouetted as he carries three guitars for repairs at Pittsburgh Guitars as it opened its doors to walk-in customers for the first time since March as counties in southwestern Pennsylvania join northwestern and the north central regions with more relaxed COVID-19 prevention restrictions, Friday, May 15, 2020, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
People wear masks as they wait for a bus in Los Angeles on Thursday, May 14, 2020. Leaving home in Los Angeles now requires bringing a face covering. Mayor Eric Garcetti said everyone must carry the coverings when they go outdoors and wear them when they are around people from outside their households. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
Los Angeles Metro commuters board a bus in Los Angeles on Thursday, May 14, 2020. Leaving home in Los Angeles now requires bringing a face covering, part of the price for reopening more businesses and activities in America's second-largest city. Mayor Eric Garcetti said everyone must carry the coverings when they go outdoors and wear them when they are around people from outside their households. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
A runner passes the Farmers Market in Los Angeles on Thursday, May 14, 2020. County Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer said masks aren't needed for a solitary run or walk. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
Harris County Sheriff's Deputy Darryl Peaks rehearses with honor guard members outside at Humble First Assembly of God during the funeral service for Sgt. Raymond Scholwinski Thursday, May 14, 2020, in Humble, Texas. Sgt. Scholwinski died last week after contracting COVID-19. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Owner Paul Furrer cuts the hair of Jeff Jones at Rich's Barber Shop on Thursday, May 14, 2020, in Waukesha, Wis. The store re-opened after the Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down Gov. Tony Evers' stay-at-home order Wednesday. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
Patrons stand on line next to a fashion store, as they wait their turn to shop at Whole Foods Market in Los Angeles ib Thursday, May 14, 2020. Leaving home in Los Angeles now requires bringing a face covering, part of the price for reopening more businesses and activities in America's second-largest city. Mayor Eric Garcetti said everyone must carry the coverings when they go outdoors and wear them when they are around people from outside their households. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
Virus_Outbreak_Australia_99284 A popular dining area with several restaurants along the shoreline has no activity as stage 1 of the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions begin in Sydney, Friday, May 15, 2020. Some pubs, clubs and restaurants are reopening with a limit of 10 patrons while following distancing guidelines. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
Virus_Outbreak_Australia_57445 Rob Barton, right, and Charlie Downe have lunch at a restaurant along the shoreline as stage 1 of the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions begin in Sydney, Friday, May 15, 2020. Some pubs, clubs and restaurants are reopening with a limit of 10 patrons while following distancing guidelines. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
A soldier wearing a face mask stands guard near barbed wire in a locked down area due to the new coronavirus in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Friday, May 15, 2020. Despite a sharp drop in infections, Malaysia's leader said restrictions to fight the coronavirus will be extended by four more weeks until June 9. The government has already let most businesses reopen with strict conditions to help revive a hard-hit economy. But mass gatherings are still barred, with schools, cinemas and houses of worship staying shut, group sports prohibited and interstate travel banned. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)
Soldiers adjust barbed wire in a locked down area due to the new coronavirus in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Friday, May 15, 2020. Despite a sharp drop in infections, Malaysia's leader said restrictions to fight the coronavirus will be extended by four more weeks until June 9. The government has already let most businesses reopen with strict conditions to help revive a hard-hit economy. But mass gatherings are still barred, with schools, cinemas and houses of worship staying shut, group sports prohibited and interstate travel banned. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)
Doctors and nurses chant slogans during a protest outside 2 de Mayo hospital in Lima, Peru, Thursday, May 14, 2020. Doctors and nurses are demanding better salaries and the purchase of more personal protection equipment amidst the new coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)
An armed protester holds a sign endorsing Republican Tim Eyman for governor as another holds a sign opposing Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, Thursday, May 14, 2020, during a protest rally at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash., against Inslee and Washington state's stay-at-home orders restricting some businesses and public gatherings in efforts to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Mounted police dressed as Mariachis and wearing masks amid the new coronavirus pandemic, patrol Garibaldi square, now empty of tourists, in Mexico City, Thursday, May 14, 2020. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)
Mounted police dressed as Mariachis and wearing masks amid the new coronavirus pandemic, patrol Garibaldi square, now empty of tourists, in Mexico City, Thursday, May 14, 2020. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)
People who are not wearing masks sit and walk outside a restaurant in the Greenwich Village neighborhood, Thursday, May 14, 2020, during the coronavirus pandemic in New York. New York has begun distributing 7.5 million protective masks citywide to help residents comply with a state order requiring face coverings in public during the COVID-19 pandemic. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Passengers arrive at the Barcelona airport, Spain, on Friday, May 15, 2020. Travellers arriving in Spain from overseas start from Friday going into a 14-day confinement as the country takes timid steps toward re-opening borders with eyes set on reactivating the crucial tourism industry. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
Grave diggers wearing protective suits bury a COVID-19 victim as relatives and friends stand at a safe distance, in the section of a cemetery reserved for coronavirus victims in Kolpino, outside St.Petersburg, Russia, Friday, May 15, 2020. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)
A woman cleans SS. Quirico and Giulitta Church in Giussano, northern Italy, Friday, May 15, 2020, also placing chairs at the correct distance. Churches in Italy are preparing to reopen to the public for masses from May 18 after Italy partially lifted restrictions last week following a two-month lockdown due to COVID-19. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
An employee of a restaurant at the Paulsplatz square puts up a parasol in Frankfurt, Germany, May 15, 2020. The restaurants and pubs in Hesse are allowed to reopen under strict regulations. (Arne Dedert/dpa via AP)
An employee disinfects the counter in the Hard Rock Cafe in Berlin, Germany, Friday, May 15, 2020. Restaurants with their own food supply are allowed to open their indoor and outdoor areas again under hygiene regulations in Berlin. (Britta Pedersen/dpa via AP)
Workers line up for medical workers to take swabs for the coronavirus test at a large factory in Wuhan in central China's Hubei province Friday, May 15, 2020. Wuhan have begun testing inhabitants for the coronavirus as a program to test everyone in the Chinese city of 11 million people in 10 days got underway. (Chinatopix Via AP)
A worker prepares for reopening at a DVD shop in shopping mall in Bangkok, Thailand, Friday, May 15, 2020. Shopping malls in Thailand are preparing to reopen on May 17 almost two months after authorities ordered them closed in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
People gather at Trocadero square next to the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Thursday, May 14, 2020. France is cautiously easing the two-month lockdown across the country. Specific measures, such as more widely spaced stalls, have been implemented to enforce physical distancing.(AP Photo/Michel Euler)
Salespersons wearing a face mask for protection against the coronavirus wait for customers in a Karl Lagarfeld' shop, in Paris, Friday, May 15, 2020. Karl Lagerfeld, the eponymous luxury brand of the late German designer, opened its doors this week for the first time to customers since closures around France linked to the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
Waitresses with a protective mask serves guests at cafe 'Sperl' in Vienna, Austria, Friday, May 15, 2020. In Austria gastronomy may open again under certain conditions from Friday on. The Austrian government has moved to restrict freedom of movement for people, in an effort to slow the onset of the COVID-19 coronavirus. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)
Tables and chairs stand in an empty terrace bar in Madrid, Spain, Friday, May 15, 2020. Deaths in Spain attributed to the new coronavirus have fallen again after a small spike and authorities are keeping a close eye on the numbers to see whether an ongoing easing of restrictions on movement triggers a surge in cases. (AP Photo/Paul White)
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WASHINGTON (AP) — As businesses reopened Friday in more of the U.S., an overwhelming majority of states still fall short of the COVID-19 testing levels that public health experts say are necessary to safely ease lockdowns and avoid another deadly wave of outbreaks, according to an Associated Press analysis.

Rapid, widespread testing is considered essential to tracking and containing the coronavirus.

But 41 of the nation’s 50 states fail to test widely enough to drive their infections below a key benchmark, according to an AP analysis of metrics developed by Harvard’s Global Health Institute.

Among the states falling short are Texas and Georgia, which recently moved aggressively to reopen stores, malls, barbershops and other businesses.

Also Friday, Democrats approved a massive $3 trillion coronavirus response bill in the House over Republican opposition.

It aims aims to prop up a U.S. economy in free fall and a health care system overwhelmed by a pandemic.

But the measure has no chance of passing the GOP-controlled Senate and has already drawn a White House veto threat.

As health authorities expand testing to more people, the number of positive results should shrink compared with the total number of people tested.

The World Health Organization and other health researchers have said a percentage above 10% indicates inadequate testing.

South Korea, a country praised for its rapid response, quickly pushed its positive cases to below 3%.

Most governors are moving ahead with unlocking their states, even in cases where they are not meeting broad guidelines recommended by the White House.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has set a goal of 30,000 tests per day as his state launched one of the nation’s most aggressive reopenings on May 1.

He never set a firm date on when the state would hit the 30,000 mark, but for most of May, the daily testing numbers fell short of that.

Local leaders say tests are still in short supply. El Paso officials have pleaded with the governor to postpone easing up any more business restrictions in light of the COVID-19 cases there surging 60% over the past two weeks.

The first stage of Maryland’s reopening began Friday evening, when some retail stores were allowed to reopen and a stay-at-home order was lifted.

Some of the hardest-hit parts of the state, including the suburbs of Washington, D.C., extended restrictions for residents and businesses.

Maryland averaged 4,265 tests per day this week, compared with about 4,900 the previous week. Nearly 22% of people tested positive in Maryland on average over the last seven days.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan made headlines last month when the state acquired 500,000 test kits from a South Korean company in a confidential deal, but Maryland has not had all the components needed for testing — like swabs — to meet demand.

Hogan said Maryland just received swabs this week from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“We requested 350,000,” Hogan said Wednesday.

“They’ve committed to 225,000, and I think we got 75,000 yesterday with another 125,000 that are supposedly days away, along with the tubes and the stuff that goes with them. So it’s not enough, but it helps us.”

Harvard University researchers have calculated that the U.S. needs to test at least 900,000 people daily to safely reopen the economy, based on the 10% positivity rate and other key metrics.

That goal is nearly three times the country’s current daily testing tally of about 360,000, according to figures compiled by the COVID Tracking Project website.

“The fact that testing has become the Achilles’ heel that has made it hard for us to have a great national response to this pandemic is a tragedy,” said Dr. Ashish Jha, director of Harvard’s Global Health Institute.

President Donald Trump insisted again this week that his administration “met the moment” and “prevailed” on testing, even as he continued shifting responsibility for the effort to the governors.

Administration officials said they will provide states with enough testing supplies to conduct about 400,000 tests per day in May and June.

That’s less than half the total recommended by the Harvard team.

Only nine states met the daily rate recommended by Jha and his colleagues, according to the AP analysis.

Most of those states are large and rural, such as Montana, Alaska, North Dakota and Wyoming.

Meanwhile, states with some of the biggest testing shortfalls, including New York and New Jersey, have signaled they will keep stay-at-home orders in place or only partially ease restrictions.

“I really do feel there are dangers here to opening up without enough tests, but I don’t feel it’s a uniform danger everywhere in the country,” Jha said.

In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo will allow many smaller cities and rural regions of upstate New York to gradually reopen first, industry by industry, in areas that have been spared the brunt of the coronavirus outbreak.

The first wave of businesses includes retail — though only for curbside or in-store pickup — along with construction and manufacturing.

Cuomo also announced beaches would be allowed to open in time for the Memorial Day weekend.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy will let individual shore towns decide whether to reopen beaches.

His long-awaited guidance Thursday directed them to set occupancy limits, require 6 feet (2 meters) of space between beachgoers, except family members or couples, and prohibit groups of 10 or more from congregating on the beach.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that the state’s testing reached 35,000 daily this week and that more than 1 million tests have been administered.

The state remains on lockdown, though Southern California’s beaches are open with restrictions.

North Carolina also has made testing progress, reporting on an all-time high of more than 12,000 additional tests completed Friday compared to the previous day.

But the state’s seven-day rolling average of just over 6,000 tests is still well below the 11,000 daily tests recommended by the Harvard team.

The testing increases over the past few weeks contributed in part to Gov. Roy Cooper and state leaders feeling comfortable with easing his stay-at-home order May 8.

Grand Canyon National Park reopened Friday to allow visitors in for day trips but not overnight.

By 7:30 a.m., more than two dozen people were enjoying South Rim viewpoints.

Signs reminded tourists to keep their distance from one another and stay in groups of less than 10.

Volume of testing isn’t the only concern.

The Food and Drug Administration said late Thursday that it was investigating preliminary data suggesting a rapid COVID-19 test used daily to test Trump and key members of his staff can miss infections.

Trump expressed confidence in the test from Abbott Laboratories.

Worldwide, there have been more than 4.4 million coronavirus infections reported and 300,000 deaths, while nearly 1.6 million people have recovered, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

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Witte reported from Annapolis, Maryland. Forster reported from New York City. Associated Press writers Gary Robertson in Raleigh, North Carolina; Michael Kunzelman in Silver Spring, Maryland; Paul Weber in Austin, Texas; Felicia Fonseca in Flagstaff, Arizona; and Matt York at Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, also contributed to this report.

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This version corrects that Texas and Georgia recently moved to reopen businesses, not that both did so last month.

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Follow AP pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak.

Copyright © 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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