Thinking Citizen Blog — Dr. Deborah Birx “A New Phase”

Thinking Citizen Blog — Thursday is Health, Health Care and Global Health Policy Day

Today’s Topic — Dr. Deborah Birx “A New Phase” — time for a “war footing”? best single idea?

So what exactly would you do if you were President? Personally, when I talk to experts, there is no consensus. Some say open the schools. Others say no. So we are in a “new phase.” What is to be done? What is the best single idea you have ever read about? Today’s post consists of excerpts from an article making the case for weekly testing of every American for four weeks. Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.

WEEKLY TESTING FOR FOUR WEEKS

1. “The national goal should be testing every American once a week for four weeks. “

2. “Those who test positive should quarantine for 10 to 14 days until they are no longer infectious.”

3. “Americans and others arriving from abroad should be required to submit to the same testing and quarantine. Those who test negative could return to work, send children back to school, eat at restaurants, and attend events. They could do so with the confidence that everyone else at these places had tested negative. By the fall we could be on our way to snuffing out the pandemic in the U.S., saving lives and reopening the economy and society.”

THE BROAD INSTITUTE AT HARVARD AND MIT SHOWED THAT THIS CAN BE DONE

1.) “In March, the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT converted its lab into a Covid-19 testing facility that can perform 700,000 tests a week and in theory could do five times as many using pooled testing.”

2.) “This facility uses off-the-shelf, interchangeable instruments and supplies. It has a 15-hour turnaround time from receipt of a sample to notification of results, at a cost of $20 to $30 a test. It was converted from an existing lab in two weeks.”

3.) “To reach scale, we would need to convert between 100 and 500 existing university or pharmaceutical-company labs to testing facilities. Each would require approximately 10,000 square feet of lab space, $10 million in equipment, and 200 employees working in shifts.”

A NATIONAL NETWORK, COST ESTIMATES, LEADERSHIP VACUUM — how long would this take to implement?

1.”The testing strategy would begin with a shallow nasal swab that, unlike the much-feared deep nasal swab, is painless and easy to administer. It would be conducted in a nationwide network, including pharmacies, other retailers and doctor’s offices.”

2. The cost of this unprecedented effort is difficult to estimate, but some line items are clear. Setting up the centers would cost between $1 billion and $5 billion. Each of the four rounds of weekly tests would cost an additional $6 billion to $9 billion.

3. “Only Washington can provide the funding, leadership, coordination and legal architecture this plan would require. It would call on America to summon the spirit we displayed at the outset of World War II.”

Opinion | Test Every American for Covid-19

YOUR TURN

Please share the most interesting thing you learned in the last week related to health, health care, or health care policy — the ethics, economics, politics, history….

Or the coolest, most important thing you learned in your life related to health care or health care policy that the rest of us may have missed. Or just some random health-related fact that blew you away.

This is your chance to make some one’s day. Or to cement in your mind something really important you might otherwise forget. Or to think more deeply than you otherwise would about something that matters.

Passionate about education, thinking citizenship, and art.