WHO on Coronavirus: 'Test, test, test. Test every suspected case'

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/03/16/who-on-coronavirus-test-te.html


I’m reminded of an article I read this morning, where a newly arrived traveler from Europe was shocked to find that no one was being tested for the virus upon returning to the US. And I was shocked that they still didn’t understand that there are no tests.

After all this is over (assuming there is an “after”), there needs to be a serious investigation into the whole US response and how the hell things got screwed up so badly with the testing kits.


I heard it is all Obama’s fault.


“Barack Ebola” was not funny the first time.


Someone tell this jackass…


Obama just ruined everything with his pandemic response team that Trump just had to shut down, because they weren’t doing anything! How was he to know there was going to be a pandemic? It was the pandemic response team’s job to foresee that!

(I keep going back to Trump’s 2018 justification for getting rid of the team because they weren’t doing anything, and anyways he could always hire them back when needed. It’s just like refusing to replace a fire extinguisher because it hadn’t been getting much use and if there was a fire, one could always just nip out to the store and buy one then…)

Oh, he knows. I mean, he deliberately - and sometimes publicly - advocated not knowing what the true numbers of the infected were, because all that Trump cares about is the perception, not the reality. (And he figured he could deny the reality and manage the whole thing like PR, because he’s so cognitively impaired he’s unaware there is a fundamental reality.)


The Ford government here in Ontario is still dragging it’s heels in testing people, despite long line up at newly opened testing centres. You only get tested if you have traveled in the past 2 weeks or have contact with a confirmed case and have a fever. One excuse was that we didn’t have enough nose swabs…wtf? (i’ve a box of q-tips I could donate to the cause… I know they have to be longer, but there are tools for that)
They are just scared the numbers will go up (which they did as soon as the testing centres opened). This approach completely ignores the possibility of community spread which is surely already happening.
Conservatives are going to be the death of us all.


In fairness, testing every person returning to the country would be a poor use of resources. If returning passengers immediately self-isolate, then get tested if they develop symptoms it makes the situation much more manageable.

Screening passengers, particularly those from the worst hit areas is better, but the Trump Admin’s rollout of that has been incredibly poor.


Yup. Had a friend just beat the travel ban getting back.
Said when he landed in Europe last week there were large warning banners explaining the problems, precautions and best practice, how to get help if sick, and then then underwent mandatory health screenings.
Got back to the US and nothing. Grab your bags and head out the door.


I wonder if Trump’s anti-Obama reflex would have won out over his need to shut down all parts of the government he didn’t understand (i.e. everything, but in particular those bits he had the power to cut).

This crisis really shows how all of Trump’s instincts are just absolutely the opposite of what’s needed for a president. I.e. being purely responsive rather than anticipatory, not understanding how policies get enacted by structures (rather than him just saying it’s so, and everyone who enacts the policies being caught flat footed), being an inveterate bullshitter who only cares about appearances (and thinks everything can be managed as PR), seeing peers as competitors rather than allies or partners, seeing everything as rentier capitalism, and so on and so on. It’s just everything about him. And a lot of these things made him a bad businessman as well…

Yep, and it was the huge gulf between that (unreasonable) expectation that everyone would be tested and the reality where even the people who needed to be tested couldn’t be, that really struck me. The person with this expectation was living in a total fantasy land.

Apparently they only just started doing any sort of education and screening (but very inconsistently), and in ways that are just making everything worse. In the last couple of days, they went from people returning from impacted areas in Italy to no warnings or information, to this chaotic situation where people were getting some information and screening, but standing in shoulder-to-shoulder crowds for long hours, even being made to stand in line next to the line of people with known infections…

It’s almost as if pulling policy decisions out of one’s ass, without consultation or even informing any of the people who have to enact the policy, just leads to disaster. Weird, that.


This is exactly what they hope and pray will happen. I just wish they’d keep their scheming to prematurely meet their maker to themselves, and leave the rest of us out of it.


But it would be a significant data resource for tracking the pandemic, in the short term that might appear less urgent. But it will also contribute to breaking chains of transmission as the WHO requests, which could turn out to be extremely urgent.


What gets my panties in a knot is that no matter that wherever in the world conservatives are in power the shit is going to hit the fan so much harder than everywhere else - that at least here in Canada we are probably going to elect a conservative federal government the moment the crisis is over because everyone is going to pissed at the liberals who have a minority government and is being stymied at giving an effective response to this BECAUSE of the damned conservatives. rant


I strongly suspect that there wasn’t much of a profit margin in producing the german test, and they figured that adding more bugs to check for might justify the extra expense. Oops, they didn’t count on contamination and delay and for things that could go wrong to go wrong.

I’m actually impressed by the resolve shown by US state government, at least. Especially contrasted with the shitshow in the UK. If we only had an adequate supply of test kits, we could really do a clever, nuanced job of containment.

…but I forget how stubbornly exeptionist USian politics likes to be. WHO wants the world to test, but the US can just go it alone like we always do, and shut down our economy instead.


It’s been pointed out that at one point, Trump disclosed owning stock in the US company that provided equipment that would have been used by the CDC’s version of the test, too. There’s no evidence he divested himself of them, which raises the question of whether that played some role in the decision…


Huh. In a couple months, I think republican loyalty to the angry pumpkin is going to be much diminished from what they’ve shown up to now. Impeachment on the emoluments clause might be too much to expect, but I am still hopeful to see that guy do a perp walk out of DC and into prison.


It would be a significant data source, but there are not unlimited tests, or time and people to administer them. And the turnaround is not instant - you still need to screen people for symptoms and isolate and or quarantine ASAP. Maybe a few weeks ago testing everyone would have helped, but the majority of US cases will now arise from community transmission.

Screening passengers makes sense - they can be isolated before they have a chance to infect many others, and authorities will have a sense of who else was on their flight. Screening before people get on a flight would be even better. Quarantining some that have been in situations with a high likelihood of contracting the virus (as has been done with cruise ships) is a sensible step.

Hopefully everyone who is arriving will self-isolate for 14 days and report if they develop symptoms.


Fingers crossed…


It’s worth noting that the thrust of this message is that some countries could still (maybe) contain the disease by detecting every single case, whether symptomatic or not. Once it’s endemic throughout a large population with no internal borders, there’s probably no amount of testing that could accomplish that.

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