There is one ingredient essential to reopening the economy, and still no federal plan to get it

There is one ingredient essential to reopening the economy, and still no federal plan to get it

Diagnostic testing is important, absent a vaccine or therapy, as part of a concerted effort to identify the sick, isolate and treat them, and allow everyone else to get back to business. Right now, testing is the foundation of state decisions about reopening, yet the testing landscape is disorderly and inadequate. After a miserable start, the pace of testing is slowly ramping up, now exceeding 400,000 daily. But that is still far, far below what experts say would be required to sustain a new normal. The effort has been left to 50 states and a hodgepodge of academic laboratories, hospitals and private companies. Some laboratories are overwhelmed, and others underutilized. Last week, the Atlantic reported that some states were mixing reports of diagnostic testing — finding those who are currently infected — with results from serological testing, a different test that checks for a past history of infection. The mistake affected results in Pennsylvania, Texas, Georgia and Vermont. Virigina was also mixing them, but reversed course when it was discovered. Another worrisome question mark is testing accuracy, underscored by the questions raised about Abbott’s ID Now machine being used in the White House and elsewhere around the country. The equipment, about the size of a toaster, is the kind of quick point-of-care test that could make diagnostic testing more commonplace, but last week concerns surfaced about whether the machine is giving false negatives — wrongly indicating that persons are not infected when they may be. The Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University ...
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