29 March 2020

We need truly MASSIVE SARS-CoV 2 testing NOW

I don't pretend to be a medical expert, but some things are pretty obvious and it's equally obvious that no one is actually doing them. Would love to see some more discussion of this issue. 

In order to really get a handle on this thing, it is painfully obvious that we need to massively ramp up testing, including antibody testing, of VIRTUALLY EVERYONE. If we are able to determine who is infected, and who has recovered, we would be able to isolate the infected, and make use of the willing recovered who presumably have at least temporary immunity. By reducing to very low numbers the people who are out and about spreading the virus in the community, which is mostly the asymptomatic infected that widespread testing can identify, we could start to really bring the numbers of new cases and deaths down, much faster. This has already been demonstrated to work in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, and, to a slightly lesser degree, S. Korea. PPE and ventilators are desperately needed. But so is truly massive testing. We need tens of millions a week, not hundreds of thousands, of diagnostic and antibody tests to determine who is and has been infected, with a goal to testing at least 60% of the adult population just as soon as possible. (That number is frequently cited as the threshold for "herd immunity.") 

And to those who would argue feasibility or cost, I would like to point out the enormous, even catastrophic cost of NOT doing this. This is a war. This is probably the ONLY path to victory, if victory means significantly reducing the number of people who become very sick and even die from this disease, and significantly accelerating an end to the devastating effects on both public health and the economy. We are spending a vast amount of non-existent money (debt and printing money) to mitigate the effects; this is something that would actually redress the causes. And just as it proved feasible to build liberty ships in a week during World War 2, if we really are determined to do this, we can do it. It takes the will, making the resources available, and sheer determination to get it done. The question is whether our nation still has that kind of ability, or not. Our future likely depends on the answer to that question. 



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