Is Testing Every American Everyday A Reasonable Request In Order to #Reopen America

Scientists are working around the clock to produce testing options for both the Coronavirus itself and its antibodies. In less than a month, science has gone from offering an invasive nasal swab test that takes several days to render results to simpler 5-15 minute versions of COVID-19 tests. And for these amazing accomplishments, they are to be heralded. Even as we speak, easier, faster, and more widely available testing options are being developed. Science will not be defeated in this. Antibody tests to detect whether someone has had the virus are another prong of the testing strategy.

As these testing options come online, the question becomes: How much of it do we really need, for whom, and by when? Does reopening quarantined areas require testing first or is there some targeted strategy as to how to go about it?  Some would argue that people must remain homebound until massive testing has been completed. Is this realistic or even necessary?

In terms of the test to confirm an individual has COVID-19, a negative result today does not guarantee the same individual will not be infected tomorrow, or the next day, or the next week. Is it reasonable, feasible, or even possible to test every American everyday to see if someone has contracted the disease? Unless that individual is part of the vulnerable, high risk population, the answer is probably no. 

Science has shown us that the vast majority (97%) of those that contract COVID will have mild to no symptoms at all. As a result, they would then carry antibodies as protection from further infection. For those individuals, an antibody test may be useful to inform themselves and other decision-makers about how to proceed. Also valuable would be those statistics in determining a more accurate number of people already exposed to the virus overall. It is now believed that number is up to ten times higher than originally thought.

The number of exposed individuals against the number of hospitalizations and deaths will provide a clearer view of the actual lethality of COVID-19; a view that was absent from the world stage when monumental decisions were made in the early stages of the pandemic.

The gathering of statistical data on the disease and history itself may show that our lack of understanding of the risk of death with COVID led the world to make decisions – using the current data at the time – that may prove to be disastrous in the long run. This is not to say the decisions were wrong; on the contrary, one must take action with the most accurate data AT THE TIME. As we learn more or the data changes, leaders must be willing to change the course of action to meet the new information. Hindsight may be 20/20, but real time sight is not.

In real time, the cases of Coronavirus in the United States are slowly subsiding, while the economy is dying on the vine. Americans are filling more prescriptions for anxiety and depression medications; alcoholism, drug use, and suicide is on the rise; domestic violence has increased; and a general feeling of hopelessness and fear are growing.

Testing or no, we have turned a corner; the see-saw is tipping to the other side. The potential for death and despair due to quarantine is starting to outweigh the dangers of COVID-19 itself. As President Trump said in an earlier press conference, the cure cannot be worse than the problem itself. There was so much we didn’t know when this all started, but since then hardworking scientists and health professionals have filled in most of the blanks. They have confirmed the initial finding that COVID attacks the elderly, immune compromised, and those with underlying health conditions. The rest of the country faces mild to no symptoms from this disease. So, is it time to send out all the healthy people to #Reopen America?

Our country has overcome many times before: it is the spirit of America. Those who can, do; and those who cannot will be protected by those who can. Vulnerable people can stay safely away while the rest of the country gets out there and does what Americans do best: work hard, play hard, and take care of those that need our care.

#NotAfraidToThink              #COVIDdoesn’tWin       #ReopenAmeric

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