Virus update: Everybody in the pool – for testing. What happens now as virus cases surge again

The White House coronavirus task force is “seriously considering” pool testing for Covid-19 and acknowledged that the current testing strategy has proven inadequate.

The way “pool testing” works is by mixing together several samples together into a “batch,” or pool, and then test the pooled sample with one diagnostic test.

This way you can test a group of, for example, 25 people with one test rather than 25 separate diagnostic tests. If the test comes back negative, then you have eliminated 25 people with one test. If you get a positive result, you go back and test people individually.

Testing has been an issue throughout the handling of the pandemic. The CDC’s initial test, given to public health labs, did not work and resulted in a lag in getting tests out to public health departments.

Although President Donald Trump has repeatedly downplayed the need for increased testing — and suggested last week that he asked for testing to be slowed down — the nation is experiencing a surge in confirmed cases, demonstrating the nation’s inability thus far to get a grip on the spiraling pandemic.

Read the full story here, then scroll to the bottom of this story for interactive graphics that explore the state of virus testing.

Here are several stories from this week that take a look at what comes next as the nation faces a second wave of infection that appears tied to reopenings across many states.

Among many inspiring stories of how individuals cope and even thrive in these difficult times, here’s one about a man who made a 218-mile run to grandma after she was sickened with COVID-19.

Setting aside the politics of masks, here are tips for dealing with regular use of masks to limit spread in public places.

For ideas to deal with limited contact, feelings of isolation and more, consult our earlier guide:

And now, the latest data