Being on the front lines in the war against the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, I can attest that lack of testing capability was a major problem early-on. An article at Popular Mechanics claims this is the CDC’s fault. This is not the first time I’ve heard this.
From Pop Mech:
Back in January and February—when cases of the deadly disease began aggressively circulating outside of China—diagnostics already existed in places like Wuhan, where the pandemic began. Those tests followed World Health Organization (WHO) test guidelines, which the U.S. decided to eschew.
Instead, the CDC created its own in-depth diagnostics that could identify not only COVID-19, but a host of SARS-like coronaviruses. Then, disaster struck: When the CDC sent tests to labs during the first week of February, those labs discovered that while the kits did detect COVID-19, they also produced false positives when checking for other viruses. As the CDC went back to the drawing board to develop yet more tests, precious time ticked away.
Eventually, the CDC turned over development and distribution of test kits to non-government clinical and research labs.
Source: Coronavirus Test Kits | COVID-19 Test Kits | Coronavirus Testing
Steve Parker, M.D.