As the country now looks to Apr 30 as a tentative expiration date on nationwide physical distancing measures, public health experts have started publishing roadmaps and guidelines meant to direct reopening society in the face of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

These projections, though, hinge on widespread testing, which can help determine who has had the virus, who should remain quarantined, and who is at risk for infection. In theory, these roadmaps, which are often presented in stages, would help open up society safely.

“Anyone who puts a plan on the table should be congratulated,” said Michael T. Osterholm, MPH, PhD, director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP), which publishes CIDRAP News. “But the plans have to be based on a sense of realism, and testing is going to be part of an ever-growing challenge as we deal with a lack of reagents and supplies.”

Reagents are chemicals used to run the tests, such as those used to isolate the COVID-19 virus’s RNA.

Health experts from the Mayo Clinic to King County, Washington caution, that although testing is critical, it might not be possible at the levels needed to facilitate proposed plans. Even now, testing in most states is reserved for healthcare workers, or patients so sick they require hospitalization.

Mayo using 3 platforms

 

Credit: iStock, gevende

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