Health officials stress social distancing and they have been adamant that people should stay at homes and keep their distance but experts say these stark warning should be augmented with the message of urgent testing if people feel little sickness.
An associate professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Emily Gurley said staying home is a very blunt measure but there is a need for testing. She said being able to test people is really the linchpin in getting beyond.
Director of the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School Of Medicine, Robert Gallo said that coronavirus testing is absolutely important to control the outbreak. He says testing was the main factor in controlling the AIDS epidemic and it is also needed today. Officials make the testing as easy as they can and make it as simple as they can.
The federal government said that the majority of Americans shouldn’t even bother to get tested. Vice President, Mike Pence said if people don’t have any symptoms, there is no need for the test. This statement came out on the same day when Sen. Rand Paul tested positive despite having no signs and symptoms. Asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic individuals are likely the main reason to it spread across the globe.
The federal government recommends testing only in limited circumstances even when people become ill. According to the official CDC guidance, testing must be prioritized to the hospitalized patients, health workers and people who are at risk for getting complications from the COVID-19. Everyone must be prepared to handle their illness at home.
Director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, Ashish Jha says that administration has some major reason to set these guidelines. Early missteps created a huge shortage of tests in the United States. Not only lack of tests, but there are also shortages of basic personal protective equipment such as swabs and gear.
He says that once the testing criteria will be broadened, it should be firstly extended to the close contacts of the patients so they can be timely quarantined and monitored. Then test the mildly sick people to check their disease status and finally random testing form a segment of the population to look for the asymptomatic spreaders. It would require nearly 150,000 tests a day.
According to the data from the American Clinical Laboratory Association, around 8,000 to 50,000 tests have been done by the commercial labs over the last week. This data doesn’t include institutes and public health departments.
Professor of environmental health sciences at Columbia University, Jeffery Shaman said that the United States with a huge population and its decentralized governments needs more efforts but it is not impossible.
He says that there are enormous, psychological, emotional and economic costs associated with everyone living alone. Gradually shelter will be loosening in place. When they are lifted, this virus might surge back gains it happens in Hong Kong, that was initially successful in controlling the spread.
The lack of tests is already showing consequences, COVID-19 is now spreading exponentially and Shaman warns the municipalities in the New York City and other regions that they will be slammed in the coming weeks as an influx of infected patients flood ICUs and ERs.
Apparently, the situation is going to get worse before it gets better. But the sooner we get testing up; the better off the situation is going to be.