As schools open, US ramps up COVID-19 testing, says GlobalData

Following the National Institute of Health’s (NIH) awarding of over $100m to increase COVID-19 testing;

James Spencer, Data Scientist at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers his view on the current approach to reopening schools in the US:

“As the US passes six million COVID-19 cases, while its citizens move relatively freely, it becomes ever more important to identify who is and isn’t infected. At this point in time, the testing rate for COVID-19 in the US is woefully low. The NIH’s $128m contracts, aimed to increase the amount of COVID-19 testing performed to test 454,000 per day, will be a huge step forwards but is still millions of tests below the required figure needed to get COVID-19 back in check.

“It is even more important at this time when schools and universities across the country are considering opening again, as these places bring a huge risk of further community spread. Studies and the actions of other countries have shown that proper testing and tracing is critical in reducing the spread of COVID-19 in the community. To this end, the US should put in place large mandatory testing regimes into place to ensure that at risk populations are constantly and frequently checked for exposure to the virus.

“However, such widespread testing will need to come hand in hand with civilians willingly participating in the self-isolation and quarantine measures that other countries have instated. Unfortunately, the US, with its many anti-mask and anti-virus movements – along with widespread protests, has not been performing in a manner conducive to the restriction of this virus. For the virus to be kept in check, the government will have to work with its populations to ensure that the virus is taken seriously and treated in a manner commensurate with how serious its effects are.”

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