What We're Reading: COVID-19 Testing Capacity Overwhelmed; Texas Uninsured Rates Climbing; Calif. Latinos' Virus Worries

July 29, 2020
AJMC Staff

Laboratories cannot keep up with the demand for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) testing results; job losses in Texas have led to many losing their insurance; a new California poll shows that Latinos worry most about finances and getting sick from COVID-19.

COVID-19 Testing Falling Short of Need

Shortages of key supplies from Roche, Abbott, Cepheid, and Hologic may be to blame for the current bottleneck in testing for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) at many US laboratories, Medscape details. These public and private labs need to be running between 6 and 10 million tests per day to keep up with demand but are only able to handle close to 800,000, the article reports, which comes out to between 8% and 13.3% of the testing need being fulfilled. However, much of their automated testing equipment from these companies cannot run without parts specifically from them, and that has created a supply chain nightmare. Close to 53 million COVID-19 tests have already been performed in the United States and its territories.

Job Loss, Uninsurance Rates Climb in Texas

As 1 of only 13 states that did not expand Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act, almost 695,000 people in Texas lost their insurance when they lost their jobs from February through May, according to Kaiser Health News. The costs of COVID-19 testing, which can run in the hundreds of dollars in the state, have added even more strain to this population, 29% of whom are under the age of 65. Texas hospitals already were providing care to uninsured individuals at an annual cost of more than $7 billion, before COVID-19. The state is 1 of 23 currently seeing uncontrolled spread of the virus, although the past 2 weeks have seen new cases trend downward.

Finances, Mental Health Top List of COVID-19—Related Concerns for Many Latinos in California

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that a recent Public Policy Institute of California poll shows that financial and mental health strain from COVID-19 have affected Latinos the most compared with Black, white, and Asian Americans who also live in the state. This can be seen in the numbers: Latinos account for close to 39% of California’s total residents and almost 40% of its essential workforce, but 55% of its COVID-19 cases. In Los Angeles County alone, their likelihood of becoming infected is twice that of white residents.