Alphabet’s Verily is building a triaging tool to help people find COVID-19 testing sites in the U.S. The company says this tool will target the San Francisco Bay Area, though Verily hopes to expand coverage to more regions in the future. The move is part of a public-private partnership to dispense COVID-19 testing to “millions of Americans” in the weeks ahead at places like Target, Walgreens, CVS, and Walmart parking lots, according to U.S. Vice President Mike Pence. Testing to confirm COVID-19 cases has been a critical part of response plans in other countries around the world.
U.S. President Trump announced the news today (although he erroneously said Google was building the tool) while declaring a national emergency in a White House press conference. Trump, Pence, and the rest of the administration implied the tool would serve people nationwide. Positive COVID-19 cases have now been found in all 50 states, and on Wednesday the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic.