March 8, 15268465 | 9: PM
United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases employee harvesting samples of the virus that causes novel coronavirus. ERIN BOLLING / US ARMY / AFP via Getty Images
Around 4 million coronavirus tests will be available by the end of next week, a White House expert said on Sunday.
White House coronavirus task force expert Dr. Anthony Fauci admitted on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that early attempts to send out tests were marred by delays, but that the nation’s testing capacity is “accelerating dramatically.”
“Early on, there were some missteps with regard to the test and some technical aspects to it,” Fauci said.
“But right now, I believe, 1.1 million tests have already been sent out. By Monday, there’ll be an additional , . And by the end of next week, probably around 4 million. ”
Federal officials are getting “a better sense” of the scope of the outbreak as it progresses, he said.
“Unfortunately that better sense is not encouraging, because we’re seeing community spread,” which is when the virus spreads locally instead of only to people who were exposed abroad.
Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warned the elderly and those with underlying conditions – who are more vulnerable to the disease – to steer clear of travel and large crowds.
“If you’re a person with an underlying condition and you are particularly an elderly person with an underlying condition, you need to think twice about getting on a plane, on a long trip. And not only think twice. Just don’t get on a cruise ship, ”he said.
The number of cases in the US on Sunday climbed above .