(HealthDay News) — Test results for the new coronavirus are taking so long that they are doing little to help stop the spread of the virus in the United States, experts say.

Outbreaks in some Southern states have pushed testing labs beyond capacity, with some having difficulty providing results in five to seven days and others taking even longer, the Washington Post reported.

Those delays mean the United States cannot employ the main strategy used by other countries to contain the virus: test, trace, and isolate.

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“Instead of going from one step to the next, it’s like you’re already stumbling right out of the gate,” Crystal Watson, Dr.P.H., a public health expert at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, told the Post. “It makes contact tracing almost useless. By the time a person is getting results, they already have symptoms, their contacts may already have symptoms and have gone on to infect others.”

Washington Post Article