The U.S. isn’t meeting COVID-19 testing targets. What would it take to change that?

A young woman sits while being tested for COVID-19.
Emma Vogel has a sample taken for a COVID-19 test Sept. 2 at a testing clinic at Minnesota State University, Mankato's Myers Field House in Mankato, Minn.
Pat Christman | Mankato Free Press

Six months into the pandemic, the United States still hasn’t met COVID-19 testing goals.

More than half of states across the country aren’t testing enough residents to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.

Some epidemiologists say robust, rapid testing could be the key to safely reopening more schools, businesses and other places that have been shuttered throughout the pandemic.

There is some concern that rapid antigen tests, while less expensive and simple to administer, don’t provide the same level of accuracy as the more widely used PCR tests. However, proponents of the rapid tests say increasing the testing volume by testing more people, more frequently can help identify early cases that might otherwise be missed.   

Two doctors joined MPR News host Kerri Miller Wednesday for a conversation about the status of COVID-19 tests across the country.


  • Dr. Jana Broadhurst is the director of the Nebraska Biocontainment Unit Clinical Laboratory and an assistant professor in pathology and microbiology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

  • Dr. Alexander Greniger is assistant director of the UW Medicine Clinical Virology Laboratory and an assistant professor at the University of Washington.

To listen to the full conversation you can use the audio player above.

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