Monday, January 17, 2022

Closing the barndoor after the horse is out


        Watching the lines for getting tested for COVID-19 at St. Johns Baptist Church the past few weeks has reminded me of the title of this blog.  We seem to be 1 or 2 weeks behind in finding out if we are transmitting the virus.  Testing is an imprecise way to manage the incidence of the virus because many people never get tested in a way that gets recorded.  We haven't been able to be proactive in knowing how to mitigate the spread of the virus.  One way that has been utilized is testing the wastewater in Boston.  This is a more accurate real-time picture of how much virus is in the community without having to test people.  The results show that the level of the virus is dropping rapidly in that community.  Having this real-time data may help officials in making decisions on what community actions they want to impose at an earlier stage than using testing data that delays this information for weeks.  The problem with COVID-19 that has created the pandemic is the asymptomatic spread of the disease.  If you only spread the virus when you were sick the spread could have been easier to manage.  Efforts to identify asymptomatic spread are one of the challenges that need to be explored before the next virus happens.  It would be a great post-pandemic challenge.

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