US should have clear COVID-19 testing strategy before re-opening the economy

Contact tracing is a tried and true strategy for reducing the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic, as demonstrated in many countries such as South Korea and Taiwan. In recent weeks, the UK and France have also started or increased their track and trace capabilities. However, the US is still far behind, while still hoping to reopen its economy, says GlobalData.

James Spencer, Data Scientist at GlobalData, comments: “In light of recent events and the incredible infectiousness of COVID-19, it is possible that there is a large number of unknown new cases in the US. If the economy reopens without significant testing of the population, then America will be pushed back to square one with its pandemic response, if not actually pushed into a worse situation than before.”

Paul Romer, a Nobel Prize-winning economist, is calling to conduct 600 million tests a month to keep the infection rate down while the economy reopens. However, more conservative estimates of 400-700 million tests in total are also being considered. These tests exceed the US population because duplicate testing may need to be performed in some cases – as people may be infected later, after their first test.

GlobalData believes that this will only strengthen the economic position of the main testing producers such as Roche or Bio-Rad Laboratories.

Spencer adds: “Prior to the pandemic, PCR tests were already gaining popularity due to their reliability and quickness of testing. This will only further increase the growth rate and importance of PCR companies in the years to come.”

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