US can test 1M people for coronavirus by end of the week: Surgeon General

Adams said he expects the number of virus cases to increase rapidly

Surgeon General Jerome Adams told Maria Bartiromo on Monday that the U.S. has the capability to test about a million Americans by the end of the week.

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"As of today, we have the capability to test about a million people in this country by the end of the week through partnerships with private industry," Adams said, adding that local capacity to test for coronavirus more of an issue than test kit shortages.

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He also said he expects the number of cases to increase rapidly.

"We saw them go up in China, but the reassuring news is we’re seeing cases start to go down in China, so we feel pretty good about the fact that if we do the things we know from past experience with MERS, with SARS, with H1N1 we’ll limit spread of a person-to-person virus like coronavirus," Adams said.

U.S. Surgeon General Vice Admiral Jerome M. Adams speaks to the media during a visit to the Connecticut State Public Health Laboratory, March 2, 2020, in Rocky Hill, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

There are 400 cases of coronavirus in at least 25 states, and at least 19 Americans have died. The number of cases worldwide has topped 106,000, with at least 3,639 deaths. There have been confirmed cases in 97 countries.

Adams said U.S. health officials are in mitigation mode rather than containment mode.

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Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci has also had to reassure Americans about the nation's testing capability after a botched rollout in February.

"The fact is the tests are out there. There was a misstep early on … a technical difficulty," Fauci said on "Fox News Sunday." "About 1.1 million tests are out there now. There'll be an additional, about, 640,0000 on Monday and then at least another 4 million, particularly now that we're engaging the private sector."

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