The way to get ahead of Wuhan* Coronavirus is to aggressively test, then isolate. Test, then isolate. Repeat. But this requires a lot of testing, which isn’t happening. A week ago, Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the CDC said in an interview:
“It’s going to take rigorous, aggressive public health — what I like to say, block and tackle, block and tackle, block and tackle, block and tackle,” he said. “That means if you find a new case, you isolate it.”
It’s been a week, a White House message low on real information, and panic starting in the stores, schools, sports, and homes. That will soon spread to hospitals as people want to know if they’re infected.
But the government has not provided good numbers for tests. According to a Fox News report this morning:
The federal government has issued no official numbers for the country’s overall testing capacity and different agencies have offered different figures. Lawmakers have suggested an estimated 2.4 million tests exist that could cover 800,000 Americans. Each test kit distributed to laboratories and testing centers is said to include two swabs — one each for the nose and mouth — but conflicting data has sparked angst, uncertainty and confusion about the availability of the tests.
South Korea has proved the model suggested by Dr. Redfield works. They have aggressively tested, and despite a very high initial case load, they appear to have gotten ahead of the virus’ spread.
The United States has the capacity to produce what we need. We have the ability to develop and deploy a huge quantity of tests, and get them to the states and local health authorities where they are needed. The clock is ticking. For every day they delay, a virus that has the potential to double its infection rate every day is growing, and fear is taking root.
The Trump administration, and the federal government needs to step it up and get the tests.
*I purposely used the term “Wuhan Coronavirus. How dare China threaten the U.S. with holding out on drugs. This pandemic is on them.