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Testing Backlogs May Cloud the True Spread of the Coronavirus

To speed turnaround times, Dr. Collins said, health officials are pushing for more point-of-care testing — “on the spot” tests designed to be done rapidly and easily, without the need for specialized laboratory equipment or personnel.

Some of these tests could be completed in a doctor’s office, or perhaps even at home, in under an hour. Simple, speedy tests could prove to be a boon for institutions and communities that care for large numbers of vulnerable people, such as nursing homes. They could also help health workers bring testing supplies to populations that have often been denied access to testing and reliable health care, including those marginalized by race, ethnicity or socioeconomic status.

A handful of point-of-care tests have been greenlighted for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration.

“We need to invest a lot of money, and the government is willing to do so, in scaling those up,”

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Older Children Spread the Coronavirus Just as Much as Adults, New Study Finds

These older children are frequently as big as adults, and yet may have some of the same unhygienic habits as young children do. They may also have been more likely than the younger children to socialize with their peers within the high-rise complexes in South Korea.

“We can speculate all day about this, but we just don’t know,” Dr. Osterholm said. “The bottom line message is: There’s going to be transmission.”

He and other experts said schools will need to prepare for infections to pop up. Apart from implementing physical distancing, hand hygiene and masks, schools should also decide when and how to test students and staff — including, for example, bus drivers — when and how long to require people to quarantine, and when to decide to close and reopen schools.

But they face a monumental challenge because the evidence on transmission within schools has been far from conclusive

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Did a Mutation Help the Coronavirus Spread? More Evidence, but Lingering Questions

For months, scientists have debated whether a variant of the coronavirus that has come to predominate in much of the world did so partly because it is more transmissible than other viruses.

On Thursday, a team of researchers reported new evidence that is likely to deepen the debate rather than settle it, experts said; too many uncertainties remain, in a pandemic that changes shape by the day.

The new report, posted by the journal Cell and led by investigators at Los Alamos National Laboratory, suggested that the variant did have such an advantage. Other researchers said the findings were not yet definitive.

The underlying question is as important as ever, both for understanding the early phases of the pandemic and anticipating how it will progress in the coming months. If the genetic glitch that defines the variant, known as D614G, imparted even a slight increase in transmissibility, it would

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Most People With Coronavirus Won’t Spread It. Why Do a Few Infect Many?

Following a birthday party in Texas on May 30, one man reportedly infected 17 members of his family with the coronavirus.

Reading reports like these, you might think of the virus as a wildfire, instantly setting off epidemics wherever it goes. But other reports tell another story altogether.

In Italy, for example, scientists looked at stored samples of wastewater for the earliest trace of the virus. Last week they reported that the virus was in Turin and Milan as early as Dec. 18. But two months would pass before northern Italy’s hospitals began filling with victims of Covid-19. So those December viruses seem to have petered out.

As strange as it may seem, these reports don’t contradict each other. Most infected people don’t pass on the coronavirus to someone else. But a small number pass it on to many others in so-called superspreading events.

“You can think about throwing a

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