As the United States increases measures to curb the spread of the deadly Coronavirus’ disease, mega retailers including Walmart, Target, Walgreens and CVS have guaranteed to offer COVID-19 testing at their store premises.
As part of the testing plan, these retailers are allowing parts of their parking lot spaces and other areas outside of their stores to be temporarily used for the testing, including drive-through testing of COVID-19.
Cities in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Minnesota, New York, Texas and Washington opened drive-through Coronavirus testing stations, last week.
As of 2019, Walmart operates 4,769 stores, Target runs over 1,800 stores, CVS over 6,200 and Walgreens over 9,200 stores in the United States.
Walmart, CVS and Walgreens also have in-house pharmacies, while Target, which sold its pharmacy business to CVS in 2015, still runs small CVS pharmacies inside many of its stores.
This announcement comes after US President Donald Trump called for a meeting with executives from these companies, along with executives from testing companies such as LabCorp, Quest Diagnostics and Roche Diagnostics and top health officials, on Friday – on the same day as Trump declared COVID-19 a national emergency.
Access to COVID-19 testing has become a matter of grave concern for many Americans who have tried to get tested but have been turned away due to a limited number of available tests. The dearth in the number of available tests has allowed US health professionals to only test individuals who meet strict conditions set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Seeing the massive impact of Coronavirus all over the world, the World Health Organization continues to emphasise on the importance of mass testing.
“We have a simple message for all countries: test, test, test,” WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement which was released on 16 March. “We have not seen an urgent enough escalation in testing, isolation and contact tracing, which is the backbone of the response.
In light of the same, Trump announced 500,000 new Coronavirus tests to become available in the coming days, and up to 5 million new tests within a month.
The WHO has encouraged social distancing, thorough handwashing, coughing/sneezing into one’s elbow to reduce the risk of transmission and enable health systems to cope up. “But on their own, they are not enough to extinguish this pandemic. It’s the combination that makes the difference. As I keep saying, all countries must take a comprehensive approach…Test every suspected case.” concluded Ghebreyesus.