Anthony Fauci (front), director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), speaks during a press conference on the coronavirus at the White House in Washington D.C., the United States, March 4, 2020. (Photo by Ting Shen/Xinhua)
Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the country will be able to double its COVID-19 testing capacity over the next several weeks, which is needed to safely reopen portions of the economy, according to The Hill on Sunday.
Fauci made the remarks in a webcast hosted by the National Academy of Sciences on Saturday. He said the United States is currently averaging between 1.5 million and 2 million tests per week.
"We probably should get up to twice that as we get into the next several weeks, and I think we will," Fauci was quoted by The Hill as saying. "Testing is an important part of what we're doing, but it is not the only part."
High rates of positive results generally mean that not enough individuals are getting tested, Fauci said.
Fauci cautioned against getting "fixated" on the amount of testing kits available, according to The Hill. He said it is more important to ensure "you have enough tests to respond to the outbreaks that will inevitably occur as you try and ease your way back into the different phases."
The United States continues to see a soaring number of confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths, as over 956,000 cases and 54,000 deaths have been reported nationwide as of Sunday afternoon, according to Johns Hopkins University's tally.
Last week, U.S. President Donald Trump unveiled guidelines for a phased reopening of parts of the economy disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Some states have started reopening portions of their businesses over the weekend. Enditem