Customers look at sanitising wipes on the shelves of a pharmacy in New York. File photo/AP
The number of novel coronavirus cases in the US surged past 1,000 on Tuesday, after public health experts criticised authorities for downplaying the epidemic and lagging behind in testing efforts.
At least 28 people have died and 1,025 people have been infected, according to a running tally by Johns Hopkins University — nearly double the 550 total confirmed cases the day before.
The rise is linked to an expansion in testing as the bulk of diagnoses have shifted from federal to state laboratories.
Epidemiologists have said faulty test kits coupled with a diagnostic strategy that initially targeted too few people allowed the disease to spread beyond US authorities' ability to detect it.
The failings had contributed to the virus taking root across the country, academics from Johns Hopkins University and Stanford University wrote in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) on Monday.
Vice President Mike Pence defended the government's response at a White House briefing and said that "a million tests are in the field." He said that more would be added as the government partnered with private companies.
Just over 8,500 tests had been performed as of Monday, according to the latest figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
South Korea announced its first case on the same day as the United States; it tested more than 189,000 people in the same period, Business Insider reported.
The JAMA report authors wrote that the only test initially authorised was one developed by the CDC.
It relied on the same technology as one authorised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and deployed around the world -- except that a fault meant the CDC kit was returning inconclusive results.
It was not until February 29, the date of the first US death and more than a month after the first confirmed US case, that the Food and Drug Administration lifted a ban on state laboratories developing their own kits based on WHO's tests.
Norway PM tells children it is OK to feel scared; WHO chief urges all nations to ‘test, test, test’; Rolls Royce, Ford asked to make ventilators; hotels may be used as hospitals.
The WHO team also concluded the theory of a lab experiment gone wrong was “extremely unlikely,” while introducing new avenues of inquiry, chiming with China’s view that it may have originated overseas or been spread by frozen foods.
Global deaths stand at over 434,000 and have doubled in seven weeks. Although Brazil's official death toll from the pandemic has risen to nearly 44,000, the true impact is likely far greater than the data show, health experts said, citing a lack of widespread testing in Latin America's largest country.
The physics prize has often taken centre stage among the awards, featuring household names of science such as Albert Einstein, Max Planck, Pierre Curie and Marie Curie, and rewarding breakthroughs that have reshaped how we see the world.
The two-day forum is being held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, at Madinat Jumeirah.
The trio also condemned North Korea's disregard of multiple UN Security Council resolutions and its deeply destabilizing implications for the region, spokesperson Ned Price said.