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Here’s the Testing Strategy We Need to Safely Reopen America

Scott Gottlieb, M.D.

BY Scott Gottlieb (original source TIME)

“Everyone wants to know when we’ll be safe from COVID-19. The answer is we’re probably in for a long fight. We’ll face a persistent risk, maybe until we get a vaccine, or even after. But that risk can be managed, and reduced, if we focus on helping those at the greatest threat of getting the disease.

Reliable tests for the presence of antibodies (which tell who has had the disease) will be very important. But we also need tests that reveal who is carrying the virus to find the illness in our communities and get people access to care before individual cases turn into outbreaks and outbreaks into a new epidemic. We have the technology and public-health tools to achieve these goals, and new capabilities are being quickly developed to scale faster testing.

A critical element going forward is the ability to bring accessible, dependable and affordable testing to people who have symptoms or are at risk of contracting the disease. That doesn’t mean we need to screen everyone all the time. But for those who are symptomatic or were exposed to the illness—or for those people who work in professions or live in communities where there’s a higher chance for spread—we need to make sure that testing is available.”

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