Coronavirus testing becoming a growing concern for states as caseloads climb

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Coronavirus testing a growing concern for states as cases mount
As the total number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. climbed to 1,325 on Thursday, with nearly 40 deaths nationwide, many state officials have signaled frustration about the lack of tests being conducted to detect COVID-19.

The federal government has issued no official numbers for the country’s overall testing capacity and different agencies have offered different figures. Lawmakers have suggested an estimated 2.4 million tests exist that could cover 800,000 Americans. Each test kit distributed to laboratories and testing centers is said to include two swabs -- one each for the nose and mouth -- but conflicting data has sparked angst, uncertainty and confusion about the availability of the tests.

Trump administration officials have left “a lot of questions” unanswered, particularly on the nation’s testing capacity, U.S. Rep. Mark Walker, R-N.C., said.

“I believe the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] struggled to give a really strong answer on being able to duplicate some of the places like South Korea,” he added. The Asian nation, far smaller than the U.S., has reportedly been testing its citizens at a far greater rate.

U.S. Coronavirus Task Force member Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health told House members Thursday that the U.S. needs to improve its testing procedures. “The system is not really geared to what we need right now,” Fauci said. “That is a failing. It is a failing, let’s admit it.”

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former FDA commissioner and current resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, said Thursday he believed U.S. labs could process results for more than 20,000 patients per day -- a figure based on a combination of publicly reported information and historical estimates from government, private and academic labs -- but it’s a theoretical figure. Click here for more on our top story.

Other coronavirus developments: 
- Cuomo says NY 'way behind in testing' for coronavirus, warns number of cases could be more than 3,000
- Ohio likely has 100,000 coronavirus cases, top health official says
- Coronavirus in the US: State-by-state breakdown
- Coronavirus vaccine development: Where does it stand?
- AOC claims US coronavirus testing reaches ‘wealthy and powerful’ sooner

Canceled, canceled, canceled: Outbreak takes toll on entertainment, sports and more
"Carry on with your everyday lives," leaders typically say in times of crisis. Not so with the coronavirus outbreak.

Sports leagues, theme parks and vacation resorts have been scaling back – or even shutting down temporarily – as concern grows about how to to stop the outbreak. The NBA suspended its remaining season until further notice after a second Utah Jazz player tested positive for coronavirus. Major League Soccer and the NHL followed suit. Major League Baseball announced Thursday it will cancel the rest of spring training and delay the start of the regular season for at least two weeks amid the outbreak.

And forget about March Madness. The NCAA announced Thursday it has canceled the Division I men’s and women’s 2020 basketball tournaments over the coronavirus outbreak.  In addition, the PGA Tour said it was canceling The Players Championship and at least three subsequent tournaments.

Kids faced disappointment too. Disneyland in California will close on Saturday amid concerns over the spread of the new coronavirus. Disneyland Resorts said in a statement Thursday that the flagship park and Disney California Adventure, located side by side south of Los Angeles, will remain closed through the end of the month.

The resort says hotels will remain open until Monday so guests can make travel arrangements. Theme parks at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and Disneyland Paris Resort will close from Sunday morning through the end of the month.

Tours, awards shows, conventions and festivals nationwide on Thursday announced cancellations and postponements at a rapid clip, with concert tours being postponed, movie releases shifting and Broadway theaters going dark. Click here for more.

In related coronavirus developments:
- Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson share update

Pelosi says House closer on bill for coronavirus sick leave, free tests 
Lawmakers tried to hash out the details of coronavirus legislation, in the hope of passing the relief package for families and workers Thursday night, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the vote was more likely to occur Friday.

“It’s fair to say we are close to an agreement subject to an exchange of paper and hope to have an agreement tomorrow,” Pelosi said late Thursday, adding that the vote will happen Friday “one way or another.” Passage of a bill would be a "confidence builder," she said, urging Americans to get "tested, tested, tested."

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., updates reporters as lawmakers continue work on a coronavirus aid package, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, March 12, 2020. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., updates reporters as lawmakers continue work on a coronavirus aid package, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, March 12, 2020. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The House will introduce the coronavirus bill as a suspension proposal -- allowing it to move directly to the floor without a Rules Committee debate. The bill will require approval from two-thirds of lawmakers, with significant Republican buy-ins added to the package. Click here for more.

Coronavirus resources:
- Everything you need to know
- Closures, travel restrictions and more


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Fox News First is compiled by Fox News' Bryan Robinson. Thank you for making us your first choice in the morning! Keep your spirits up during this coronavirus outbreak -- we'll get through it together. We'll see you in your inbox first thing Monday morning.