For God’s Sake – Testing!

The New York Times has an excellent article about testing in today’s paper. What I like about today’s article is that it transcends the usual political arguments between the two parties. At this point it is clear that the Democrats want to throw a lot of money at the virus, but there is not a clear national plan to roll out testing. Republicans – I can’t figure out what they want to do.

Politics aside, testing is all we’ve got. The first local case of the novel coronavirus was identified on January 24, 2020. The patient was approximately 10 miles from my home. We are now closing in on 9 months from that day, and testing continues to be a mess. Tests are hard to find for people who are sick, they are still not very accurate, results take too long, and we still don’t have a universal testing program.

Imagine if we just tested everyone. Every kid going back to school. Every person going back to work. Even with our faulty tests, I have got to believe this would identify more cases, people would quarantine (in theory), and the virus slows. Is this a perfect solution? Of course not. Does it work in countries that employ these measures? Yes!

I have contact with families and students in China as part of my teaching. One student is in Wuhan – yes, the alleged epicenter. He is back at school full time and his parents are back working. They all were tested in order to be able to return to their daily activities. If anyone appears sick or if there is a small outbreak, millions are tested in a matter of days to squash the spread. This seems like common sense to me. I assumed this is the place we would be by now.

We have missed so many opportunities with this virus. My one message continues to be “testing and contact tracing; testing and contact tracing”. Until then? America gets sicker.

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