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Texas lags behind other states in coronavirus testing

KPRC 2 investigates why we’re not seeing widespread testing and why that’s the key to getting things reopened.

HOUSTON – The coronavirus pandemic is growing in the United States. Right here in Texas more than 16,600 people have it.

More testing sites opening every day. But, are we testing enough people?

The numbers may surprise you, even shock you.

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In the state of Texas, with a population of 29.5 million, the total number of people tested so far is 146,000, meaning the percentage of people tested here is 0.5%.

A quick look at the numbers in other states, gives a snap-shot of how Texas is doing with testing as well.

New York

In New York, the hot spot of the nation with a population of 19.4 million, 499,000 people have been tested. That's 2.6% of the state.

Louisiana

In Lousiana, with a population of 4.6 million, 118,000 people have been tested. That's also 2.6% of the population.

New Jersey

In New Jersey, with a total population of 8.9 million, 140,000 have gone through testing. That means 1.6% of the population has been tested.

Florida

In Florida, with a population of 21.5 million people, the numbers show 205,000 people have undergone testing for the coronavirus. That is 1% of the population.

Improving testing

So, how do those on the front lines think Texas is doing?

“I’ve read that we’re 49 out of 50. We’re relatively under-testing compared to others,” said Christopher Amos, director of the Institute for Clinical Research at Baylor College of Medicine. He says we will need to do much more testing, especially with people who live close together.

"We're going to be, have to be aggressive in testing for people that live in close quarters, people that can't do social distancing," said Amos.

And when we do start reopening our lives, more testing will be essential.

"So we have to ramp up our testing a lot so we can control better the spread of the infection and catch it earlier and quarantine, you know separate people completely in those situations," said Amos.

The Nation

And in terms of the total number of people tested in the United States overall, with a total population of 328 million people, the total tested stands at 3.1 million.

That is exactly 0.9% which is less than one percent. But still higher than the number of people tested in Texas.