Commentary / Coronavirus / Instagram

Coronavirus Testing – Truth No One Will Tell You

coronavirusYou know the questions: When will we get access to coronavirus tests? When will we get antibody tests? The answers are important, complex – and no one’s fault.  Good questions need asking and answering. So here is the truth … no one will tell you.

When will everyone have a yes/no infection test?  The answer depends on layers of uncertainty, decisions made by individual governors, national and international businesses, small producers of test parts (like swabs and chemical reagents), availability of personnel and facilities (no cross infection), congestion within processing labs, and legal chain of custody issues.

Some states aligned the stars, administering tests quickly, processing and returning results fast. In New Mexico, for example, “tests are free and plentiful.” Roving one-day test centers backup permanent centers. As a result, one-in-eight residents are tested, totally 90,000 already.

Bureaucracy was shed, supply chains streamlined, access prioritized, outcomes understood to be vital – to slow transmission and calm troubled hearts. The Department of Health provided public transportation to test centers.  Similar numbers are being done in Oklahoma, Nevada, and South Carolina, and similar per capita numbers in states like Utah.

In other states, no fault of any one person, capacity shortages, government and business chokepoints, regulatory and bureaucratic hurdles, insufficient infrastructure, and personnel shortages bog down testing.

In Michigan, new cases outstrip capacity to test, but that is not new. Michigan has “lab space to do 16,000 tests” per day but has not been able to align test access, businesses, healthcare personnel, permanent and mobile test locations, citizen outreach for more than 11,000 per day.

As Michigan’s Governor Gretchen Whitmer admitted May 3: “We’ve never been able to get to full capacity because we are missing things in the supply chain.” She rightly ordered essential personnel tested, but state-specific issues have foiled the goal.

Michigan is not unique. While Detroit is a hot spot, the Association of American Medical Colleges noted: “There are limited supplies and there are differences in which labs have been able to order which supplies and how much of the order shows up.”

In short, mass demand on limited production capacity and fragile supply chains, combined with blameless but unprepared states, is creating predictable delays, chokepoints, and slow testing.

Not surprisingly, the same problems attach to antibody testing, made more complex by uncertainty within science. Not clear is how accurate antibody tests are, how long antibodies to COVID-19 last, what level of immunity they provide, whether they dissipate over time.

The good news is that markets do clear, that is, supply rises to meet demand, incentivized by good will, profit and public interest; state public sector leaders figure things out.  They reprioritize, realign resources, and catch up. Both are happening – for both sorts of testing.

As increased testing inevitably identifies more cases, prevention and self-help reinforce the public interest in staying well, until everyone is tested.  Widespread testing is coming.  The National Institutes of Health predicts a jump from 1.5 million tests early May to twice that by late May.

At the same time, waiting irritates people, triggers frustration, causes us to look for someone to blame. That is where we must pull hard – together – on the reins.  No one in the United States is at fault for this pandemic, even if the tendency in such tense times is to find fault.

No magic by any president, vice president, federal health care official, congressional leader, or for that matter state governor, corporate chief executive officer, or national pundit would have prevented this surprise – or prepared us for it.  The need is new to ramp up private capacity, coordinate resources within each state, respond to this Chinese-origin pandemic.

No federal stockpile of perishable tests would have fit the virus or lasted long. The right answer is to empower those closest to people and to each state’s unique problem set – the governors.

Each problem set is different, which is why the right answer is allowing independent management– with 24/7 federal support, though interstate coordination, cutting edge research and modeling, available money for hospitals, healthcare workers, businesses, and individuals.

All this has been and is being done. Sometimes truth is – without fault – frustrating.  As Johns Hopkins noted this week: “We have a patchwork of testing across the country.” True enough – and for a reason.

America is by constitutional design and operational reality, not a big monolith, not the Soviet Union, not China, but 50 free and independent states, plus five territories.  We will get through this just fine, if we remember the basics. Good questions need asking and answering. Truth needs telling and believing. Truth is important, sometimes frustrating.  That is the price of democracy.

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2 years ago

You say “I’m sure we will get thru this just fine”. I disagree-our Constitutional Rights are being violated-taken away.These are very scary times.

2 years ago

Wouldn’t a urine analysis and bloodwork be a more appropriate and accurate test?

Bob L.
2 years ago

I want to know why the tests are even needed.
We don’t get tested for seasonal flu or any of the other 18 previous 18 Coronavirus strains since 1965.
Dr. Fraud Fauci is now suggesting we be issued a card showing we have been tested. This sounds like the first of future “Your papers please” big brother tracking/identifying demands.
I wonder if George Orwell had any idea of how accurate his vision of the future would be?

2 years ago

Read online that the tests are only 30%-40% accurate. Everyone tested would have to be retested once they changed their surroundings or came into contact with another human being. Don’t hear anything about that.

2 years ago

Just wondering if anyone else is at all concerned or cares: The thought that Bill Gates, Soros and other dangerous Globalists might have anything to do with the covid19 vaccine, considering the fact that they are looking to depopulate the globe, is MOST concerning to me. I have only recently learned about them and now
understand the “no-vaccine” people’s concerns. Just sayin

Jim Hise
2 years ago

Every living creature on this planet has Coronavirus in their Genetic make up. That’s All living creatures. If man devises a method of testing that will test for the virus the test will always show positive correctly and if man devises a method to kill the Coronavirus, every person given the vaccine will drop dead.

2 years ago

End this illegal and draconian lockdown. COVID 19 is a world wide plague that God sent through the pagan Chinese because of our disobedience. Have you ever witnessed a plague that has traveled so quickly and has gone world wide?

2 years ago

Biggest Hoax on America ever. All you have to do is the math….math is precise and does not lie like the people in charge. If there have been 84,000 deaths across America and we have 330 million people….you have a .000254 chance of getting this virus….you have a better chance of winning the lottery. As times progresses, we are finding out why they want to keep this lie going….states get more money for cornie virus deaths, so even if you die of cancer, your death certificate says cornie….had a friend whose mother died of cancer and low and behold, the death certificate said COVID19… some 30,000 deaths were not cornie virus and should have been removed from the rolls….has not happened as yet. Hospitals are cashing in on this also even if you are admitted for the common flu, something associated by COPD problems or any other respiratory infections (not cornie), you are admitted as a COVID19 patient because the hospital gets $13,000 for each cornie virus patients and if anyone is put on a ventilator, they will call them cornie patients because they get $39,000 for each one of them. This is a scam and if you are on facebook, you will see more and more doctors telling you that we got took. One doctor in Dallas says she has kept her office open and got the cure from Presiden Trump….the hydrochoraquin and zpack….and except for a couple of older patients, they were cured within two days. She also said she has been attacked by people like Fauci and the pharmacists who insist that she must give them a diagnosis before they will fill the prescription….she said that (the pharmacist) you job is filling the prescription and putting the pills in the bottles. So if her patients have anything other, she uses that diagnosis….diabetes, high blood pressure, malaria, whatever so she can get the medications that will kill the virus into her patients’ hands. People we are being taken advantage of by the radical left …. we are going to have to stand up and say ENOUGH is ENOUGH and we will no longer OBEY or COMPLY with your demands…. we will take our chances.

Rudolph K. Muzzarelli
2 years ago

Straight talk is. Appreciated.

Pat Kirby
2 years ago

I don’t trust anything related to the “virus “ because of false information supplied by Gates, Big Pharma and the minions put in to adversely lie to our President. I don’t trust what they may have put in a simple “test”. I don’t trust the “advice “ of the so-called “experts” and certainly don’t trust biased Governors or Mayors!

Donna Christensen
2 years ago

I am fully aware that the reaction to this virus is much more political than medical! That is what makes it such a farce! We have had serious diseases plague us since the Garden of Eden, and have not reacted with such fear and restrictions, as we are experiencing today! The opening of businesses is vital to the economy of our nation, and the fear of sickness is over emphasized. I know the threat is real and care must be addressed, but I think we have gone way overboard!

2 years ago

There is no magic wand to instantly solve this crisis.
Testing will continue to accelerate, the Administration has performed fantastic on such an unknown and complex health issue.
A combination of exposure through ” herd immunity” , building immunity in our system and common sense handwashing, plus medical advances will get us through.
We all will face some risk , but then life always has risks.
Remember more people die with many other health related issues , so just accept this for what it is.
Stop the hysteria, stressing out will not change a thing.

Julie Tipton
2 years ago

Great article. It doesn’t blame one person or party…but lets people know what is going on regarding development of Covid-19 vaccines, antibody tests, etc.

2 years ago

Try that one on for size!

2 years ago

Please remember they will only win if we don’t respond. Watch them and organize voting parties. This time pick some more sane people and then we can jointly participate in a mass burial of the purveyors of anti “democracy” insanity.

David Nelson
2 years ago

Good read.

2 years ago

Much is being reported about the feverish (no pun intended) race to develop a COVID-19 vaccine. It has also been reported that COVID-19 can easily mutate. If true, what good is a vaccine? By time vaccine will have been made and tested, won’t COVID-19 virus have mutated to a form that vaccine will not build immunity to?

2 years ago

It is important that we understand the real state of testing. It is good relative to other markers (nations). It is not perfect or even as we would want it to be.

As of 5/11/202 the US has done >9.5M tests, which is millions more than any other country.
The US probably has the most transparency relative ate any other country.
The US is the 3rd most populous nation in the world and among the 10 most populous the US is doing a better job of testing than any other. It is very possible that the US is doing the best job of testing of any country. This being said we still have work to be done. We are now doing >300K tests daily (>390K today).

Testing gives us more info… the real solution is two fold… immunity via vaccines and effective therapeutics that are low cost and something a person can pickup at the local pharmacy w/o a prescription.

We know a lot more than we did, but we have more to learn. We have a number of vaccine efforts in progress as well as a 3 of therapeutics efforts.

We have flattened teh curve, but it is time to restart the economy as it is hemorrhaging now and causing deaths a good economy would help us avoid.

2 years ago

Didn’t the CDC have a monopoly on the test-why do you need the test if you are symptom free? This is big brother invading my liberty. The next thin you know- they will be making the vaccine mandatory-another violation of mu rights. Very scary- you need to research “Contact Tracers”- this is Orwellian, Don’t drink the Koolaide!

dino deplorable
2 years ago

Well I live in the once great state of Illinois,the JIM EDGAR era,no more.Now it’s the mad Madigan era and now we are the sheeple that mad Madigan tells us what to do thru his puppet Pritzker.

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