“When a stay-at-home order in March all but closed the revered labs of the gene-editing pioneer Jennifer Doudna, her team at the University of California, Berkeley dropped everything
and started testing for the coronavirus.
They expected their institute to be inundated with samples since it was offering the service for free, with support from philanthropies. But there were few takers.
Instead, the scientists learned, many local hospitals and doctors’ offices continued sending samples to national laboratory companies — like LabCorp and Quest Diagnostics — even though, early on, patients had to wait a week or more for results. The bureaucratic hurdles of quickly switching to a new lab were just too high.
“It’s still amazing to me, like, how can that be the case, that there is not a more systematic way to address a central need?” said Fyodor Urnov, the scientist who oversaw the transformation of the Innovative Genomics Institute into a clinical laboratory.”
David Lindsay: This is the most confusing and bizarre and disturbing story by Katie Thomas, on why testing did not take off in the United States. She reports it could have. We had the labs and scientists in great number, but there was no Federal leadership, or organization, to take the various parts and bring them together, the red tape and barriers of entry, were greater than the forces of cooperation. Apparently, hospitals and governments didn’t see how to fund going to a local, testing organization, that wasn’t strongly recommended and financially supported. It appears it all failed to happen due to a lack of Federal leadership. I also must agree with all the commenters here, who say the tests failed to succeed because the players couldn’t figure out how to profit from them. A health system that puts private corporate profits ahead of the public health, pretty clearly fails to get the jog done of protecting public health. That is us not protected, we are the public.
May 9, 2020 at 12:06 p.m. EDT
It was Jan. 22, a day after the first case of covid-19 was detected in the United States, and orders were pouring into Michael Bowen’s company outside Fort Worth, some from as far away as Hong Kong.
Bowen’s medical supply company, Prestige Ameritech, could ramp up production to make an additional 1.7 million N95 masks a week. He viewed the shrinking domestic production of medical masks as a national security issue, though, and he wanted to give the federal government first dibs.
“We still have four like-new N95 manufacturing lines,” Bowen wrote that day in an email to top administrators in the Department of Health and Human Services. “Reactivating these machines would be very difficult and very expensive but could be achieved in a dire situation.”
But communications over several days with senior agency officials — including Robert Kadlec, the assistant secretary for preparedness and emergency response — left Bowen with the clear impression that there was little immediate interest in his offer.
Source: Prestige Ameritech offered to make millions of N95 masks in Texas. The government turned him down.. – The Washington Post
“The economic shutdown caused by the coronavirus has left a growing number of American families desperately short of money. Images of hundreds of cars waiting in long lines at food banks across the country have become a symbol of the crisis, a contemporary equivalent of the old black-and-white images of Americans standing in bread lines during the Great Depression.
To ease the pain, at least a little, Congress voted in late March to send $1,200 each to most American adults. In this era of high-speed trading, digital wallets and instant payments, one might have imagined that the federal stimulus payments would be distributed quickly, too.
Instead, the first large wave of payments is only landing in bank accounts on Wednesday.
And tens of millions of Americans won’t get their stimulus payments until May — or later.
The slow pace is the result of a combination of outdated financial infrastructure and a remarkable lack of urgency. The mass distribution of stimulus payments has become a standard feature of the government’s response to economic downturns. Payments went out in 2001, and again in 2008, and now for the third time this century. Yet the government has not constructed a system to ensure that everyone gets money quickly.”