There's a game-changer out there that should end the Wuhan virus paranoia
The 15-day lockdown that Americans agreed to in March to prepare hospitals for a possible influx of Wuhan virus patients has lasted for over half a year in some places. It's disrupted businesses, education, and family life while harming people's mental and physical well-being. On Monday, though, a game-changer hit the scene when President Trump announced an affordable rapid test for the Wuhan virus. The new test can be self-administered and will produce a result in around 15 minutes.
The Epoch Times reports:
President Donald Trump announced on Sept. 28 that the U.S. government will start distributing 150 million rapid COVID-19 tests to states this week in a bid to help governors safely reopen K–12 schools and economies.
Of the total, the administration is dedicating 100 million tests for schools and measures to help reopen economies. An additional 50 million tests will target the most vulnerable elderly population in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and home health and hospice sites.
There are no restrictions on how the 100 million tests meant for schools and economies can be used, but the Trump administration will urge governors to prioritize for settings that need rapid, low-tech methods of testing, such as schools, first-responder facilities, and areas where outbreaks are detected, [Admiral Brett] Giroir [M.D., assistant secretary for Health, in the HHS] said. The administration plans to ship 6.5 million tests from the school allotment this week.
Broad access to testing is part of both federal and state reopening plans. After initial setbacks with a government-made test, several private sector companies developed a variety of testing solutions. The United States leads the world in the number [of] tests performed. The nation is on track to soon have the capacity to run 3 million tests per day, on average, Giroir told Congress last week. The United States is now averaging about 920,000 tests per day, Giroir said at a press conference at the White House on Sept. 28.
(When you watch the video, below, pay attention to Trump's great little Borscht belt–style joke as he introduces Dr. Giroir.)
With an instant test, students can return to in-classroom learning — assuming that their parents, having seen how dreadful public schools are, haven't opted to homeschool their children. Meanwhile, workplaces can open again. So can restaurants, which have been devastated by the lockdowns. With a 15-minute test, both employees and customers can quickly have their health status determined. If they're clear, things can function as they did before the virus hit. This won't work for big box stores and restaurants, but it may be enough to resuscitate smaller, more intimate venues.
What will be interesting is to see whether some governments aren't too interested in benefiting from the rapid self-testing kit. For example, in New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio has indicated that he intends to keep his citizens prisoner forever:
We've made great progress on COVID-19, but we're not done until we hit zero. Here’s a look at the numbers:— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) September 28, 2020
•332 new reported cases
•61 patients admitted to hospitals
•Citywide positive tests are at 1.93%
Practice social distancing, wear face coverings and avoid large crowds.
Bryan Preston understands the real message behind that tweet:
The likelihood that we ever get to zero cases is, well, zero. Coronavirus is a virus. Once virii hit human populations, they tend to come and go seasonally. Despite all the promising news we've heard about vaccines lately, vaccines don't mean the virus cases zero out anytime soon if ever.
The flu infects hundreds of thousands every year, and kills somewhere between 24,000 and over 60,000 Americans annually. We have a flu vaccine. We'll never have zero flu cases. It took decades to get to zero U.S. polio cases.
Compared to the over 200,000 who caught the virus in New York, and the more than 23,000 who died, 332 new cases, with only 61 people in the hospital, are statistical blips. But they're blips that allow de Blasio to maintain total control, and that's the way the mayor likes it.
It's also unclear how much Florida will use the test but for reasons that are the opposite of what's driving de Blasio. Florida is now 100% open, and, so far, the mass die-off hasn't happened. Additionally, the CDC's newest numbers show that, as matters now stand, most Americans have a minute chance of succumbing to the virus:
Back in April, colleagues & I calculated the IFR for COVID-19 and determined fatality rates were similar to the flu for those under age 50.— James Todaro, MD (@JamesTodaroMD) September 28, 2020
Ppl called it “misinformation” back then.
Six months later, CDC reports similar COVID-19 IFR estimates:
0-19 yrs: 0.003%
20-49 yrs: 0.02% https://t.co/INAv0DaDqO
The Trump administration has prodded the private sector to respond with admirable speed to an unusual situation. This is another example of the excellent management skills Trump has brought to the White House. It remains now for the American people and their state and local governments to take advantage of these rapid tests and return American to normal.
Image: Admiral Brett Giroir. YouTube screen grab.