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Resnick: US Covid-19 Testing & Surveillance Is Still in þe Dark_

I confess that back in March I was flummoxed by the fact that the American government and the American health sector could not scale-up to test people for coronavirus at the needed scalr. Today I am even more flummoxed by Americas continuing testing deficit. It makes it impossible to even figure out where we are with the virus, let alone plan how to try to fight it successfully at reasonable cost:

Brian Resnick: US Covid-19 Testing & Surveillance Is Still in þe Dark ‘“It’s like we’re flying blind”: The US has a Covid-19 data problem: And fall is fast approaching...

...Six months into America’s battle with Covid-19, we still can’t really see the enemy. There isn’t good real-time data on where the virus is and who it is infecting. Our diagnostic testing is at an all-time high, but it’s still missing the vast majority of infections. We don’t have systematic surveillance programs like we do for the flu to fill in the gaps, and we don’t have good metrics that tell us how well the virus is being contained.

We’re particularly in the dark about what’s happening in many minority communities, which have lower testing rates than white communities. We don’t have good foresight into the future either: As the response to the pandemic grows more fractured, and the policies less consistent and more politicized, it’s getting harder to model....

This blindness is particularly excruciating because institutions—like schools and universities—have to make hugely consequential decisions about reopening without clear data on what’s happening on the ground. The best data we have on community spread of Covid-19 is weeks out of date when it arrives. And schools won’t necessarily be able to monitor the consequences of their decisions in real time. With a virus capable of exponential growth, these lags in data can result in catastrophe…

.#coronavirus #noted #orangehairedbaboons #2020-08-15