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Enlarge / WUHAN, May 15, 2020 – Residents take nucleic acid tests at a testing post set up at a primary school in Dongxihu District in Wuhan, central China's Hubei Province, May 15, 2020. Wuhan will arrange nucleic acid tests for all residents who have not been tested before, in order to better know the number of asymptomatic cases of the novel coronavirus. Getty | Xinhua News Agency

When Chinese officials in the city of Wuhan discovered a cluster of just six COVID-19 cases around two weeks ago—the first cases there in more than a month—they quickly set an ambitious plan to test the entire city of roughly 11 million and crush a potential second wave of infection. And they initially planned to try to do it in just 10 days.

Ten days out, they nearly met that goal. Wuhan Municipal Health Commission swabbed more than 9 million residents and tested more than 6.5 million of those swabs for coronavirus genetic material between May 15 and May 24, according to state media.

Laboratories in the city went from conducting 46,000 tests a day to as many as 1.47 million in the screening sprint, according to The New York Times. The Times notes that in the US, New York tested 1.7 million people since March 4, a nearly three-month time frame, according to The Atlantics COVID Tracking Project.

Wuhan officials pulled off the mass screening in a staggered neighborhood-by-neighborhood sweep. Then they sped up swab processing by running tests in batches. That is, they combined material from five to ten swabs and tested the pooled sample all at once. If any of the pooled swabs were positive for the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, officials could go back to that handful of people and retest them. This type of batcRead More – Source

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