California needs to do 3 times more COVID-19 testing, earns an F on scorecard

Media Contacts
Claudia Deeg


SACRAMENTO — With COVID-19 spreading widely in California, advocacy group CALPIRG released a scorecard that gives California an “F” for still not doing enough testing. Health experts agree that testing is one of the most effective ways to combat the virus, but according to a Brown University School of Public Health model, California needs to do over three times more testing than it’s doing now. CALPIRG is urging Congress to quickly pass legislation to fund additional tests and testing infrastructure.

“The virus is spreading like wildfire, but our testing capacity has increased at a glacial pace. We’re calling on Governor Newsom to ramp up testing, but the state needs federal support to make it happen. Failing to widely test for COVID-19 puts everyone in California at greater risk and prolongs economic damage,” said Claudia Deeg, CALPIRG Associate. 

CALPIRG says in its updated scorecard that California has earned an F for being only 32.7 percent towards its testing target. Since CALPIRG reviewed the state’s testing capacity in December, California’s progress toward its testing goal has increased from 22.1 percent.

The group is encouraging people to sign a petition to Congress urging lawmakers to swiftly pass additional legislation that provides at least $50 billion in funding to expand COVID-19 testing. That support is needed even more urgently now that the state’s limited resources are divided between testing and vaccination programs. We need to roll the vaccines out quickly, but we also need to maintain a robust testing response. 

State governors should emulate best practices from other states that have already hit their testing targets, including Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Maine.

“With the virus surging all over the country, the first thing to do is get cases down quickly through temporary stay-at-home orders. But ramping up and maintaining adequate levels of testing capacity until we can vaccinate everyone is absolutely key to getting this virus under control for the long term,” said Deeg. 

For an analysis of all fifty states testing protocols, check out U.S. PIRG Health Care Campaigns Director Patricia Kelmar’s blog, “Is your state doing enough testing?”


staff | TPIN

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