A lighthearted note on which to end a lighthearted week.What's taken so long to date is that the FDA and CDC had been playing it by the government book, with extensive testing before rolling it out. Now that Trump has moved it to the private industry, those tests will get out much quicker, and be widely distrbuted.
“I’m just wondering what’s taking so long [with testing],” Tur declared.I don’t know what to make of that. Most testing won’t be done at hospitals. It’ll be done at public labs, private labs, and academic labs. My sense, if you watch the clip below (starting at 7:44), is that he means his administration is “moving on” from worrying about the delay in testing. They have more pressing issues now, like outfitting hospitals for the coming crunch. He doesn’t mean that the feds or the medical community are giving up on it.
Hogan then admitted, “Everybody’s trying to work on it, but I don’t believe they can wrap up fast enough. That’s the simple answer. We’ve moved on from testing, quite frankly, to other things right now.”
After being asked what the “other things” are, Hogan said, “We’ve moved from containment to mitigation and quite frankly at some point soon we’re probably not going to be into testing as much because the hospitals will be overwhelmed and unable to do the tests.”
But it can’t be that his administration is moving on fully. Even in the teeth of a major outbreak, testing will remain a priority in order to identify people who need to self-quarantine so that they don’t spread the virus further. His team has an interest in making sure that testing in Maryland is widespread even after the run on hospitals has begun for that reason.
Or does it? It’s above my pay grade but maybe there’s a tipping point in an outbreak at which the virus is so far out of control that it doesn’t make epidemiological sense anymore to test for it. There must be some threshold at which so many people are infected that it suddenly becomes highly likely that at least half of the population will contract the disease and herd immunity will begin to control further spread. Is there sound cost/benefit logic in continuing to test people at that point?
But at some point, indeed, testing may not make much sense again, as the epidemic gets going, virtually all respiratory illness will need to be treated as if they were WuFlu, and only the serious cases tested to be certain.