Harvard Analysis: Much More COVID-19 Testing Needed In Florida To Supress Virus

Jun 30, 2020

A new analysis that researchers at Harvard conducted for NPR finds that although Florida is doing more COVID-19 testing, it’s falling well short of the number of tests that need be done to trace and ultimately suppress the virus.

The analysis estimated that Florida needs to do 527,736 tests a day to have enough information to effectively suppress the virus, but the state was only averaging 42,179 tests a day during the analysis.

Most other states are also falling short, according to the analysis.

Harvard Global Health Institute Estimate Of How Much COVID-19 Testing Is Needed In Florida

Notes: These testing targets, from the Harvard Global Health Institute and the TTSI Collaborative, are based on estimates of how many new COVID-19 cases might exist on July 6 based on outbreak data as of June 29. Daily new cases and daily testing are averages of data reported June 23-29.
Credit Harvard Global Health Institute / Via NPR

"The surges we're seeing in large parts of the country are due in part because those states opened up too quickly and they relaxed way too much given how much virus they had in their community — and they lacked testing," said Ashish Jha, who runs the Harvard Global Health Institute. "These two things really go hand in hand."

There had been 152,434 confirmed total cases of COVID-19 in Florida at the time of this story’s publication, with 3,505 deaths of Florida residents and 99 deaths among non-residents in Florida, according to the Florida Department of Health.

Related: Local, State, And National Coronavirus Coverage

Many public health experts agree increased testing would be a powerful weapon against the virus, according to NPR's reporting, because hot spots could be more accurately targeted and more infected people could be quarantined. 

Read NPR’s full story on how much testing is needed across the country to suppress the virus here.