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For In-Person College, Coronavirus Testing Will Be Key. But Is That Feasible?

The coronavirus test wasn’t as bad as Celeste Torres imagined. Standing outside a dorm at the University of California, San Diego, Torres stuck a swab up a nostril, scanned a QR code, and went on with the day.

“The process itself was about five minutes,” Torres says, “I did cry a little bit just because it’s, I guess, a natural reaction.”

Torres hadn’t been exhibiting symptoms, and didn’t end up testing positive. Rather, they are a data point, part of a mass testing effort at UC San Diego to make sure an in-person fall semester is possible. “We’re not trying to test to see if we can detect an outbreak right now,” explains Dr. Robert Schooley, a virologist and professor of medicine, who is helping lead the project. ”We’re trying to make sure that we can scale to be able to do that in the fall.”

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