06 April 2020

The vital importance of testing

I don't know why it's so difficult for people to understand the importance of cheap, nearly universal, and reliable testing, both diagnostic and serology (antibody testing to determine if the person has been exposed and either recovered or remained asymptomatic. Even this article doesn't really lay it out clearly. Which is as follows. We will NOT be able to "return to normal" until we are easily and reliably able to determine who is and who is not infectious. Even after a "die down" following a peak, as modeled by IHME {here} ... without testing and immediate quarantine of people who test positive, we will have repeated waves of infection, at least until an effective antiviral treatment or vaccine becomes available, which could easily be more than a year from now. Estimates are that up to 97% of the population will REMAIN susceptible to the virus after the initial peaks and die downs the model anticipates. This strongly suggests that repeated outbreaks, more strain on medical facilities, and more deaths, can be expected. Testing and contact tracing, such as was done effectively in S. Korea and even to a great extent in Japan, could ameliorate these developments, and the antibody tests could provide us with a pool of people who have some or even robust immunity. Such people could help greatly in future handling of outbreaks. This is not opinion. It is fact based analysis.

Yet our miserable excuse for a Federal disaster response has STILL not successfully ramped up testing.

We should call on wealthy philanthropists, like the Waltons, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, the remaining Koch brother; the Sackler gang (responsible for the Oxycontin epidemic), to step in and fill the breach. Fund and coordinate a massive research and development project to make tens of millions of tests available ASAP.

It is their PATRIOTIC duty.

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