Test, test and test
With most European countries now opting for some degree of relaxation of their lock-down, inevitably there have been some localised outbreaks of fresh infections. To liken these to ‘second wave’ (which in 1918 killed more people than the first wave) is dubious because a) testing in many places has been variable, so infection rates now are difficult to compare with previous and b) potential changes in the virus’s behaviour as it has spread also make the situation difficult to judge.
We have learnt a lot more about the virus than we knew at the beginning of this year, but one principle remains as important as it was when the WHO first made its statement, that in order to contain the virus, every nation must heed the mantra ‘test, test and test.’
The real and pressing question is: where countries claim to have put in place such programmes (some much later than others for complex reasons), do they have the capacity to deliver testing at the level that is required?
If they are in reality under-resourced and cannot deliver the number of tests needed, then they are both a waste of public money but of greater concern because their existence would lead the public at large to have confidence in public health measures that are not in practice, protecting them as they were designed to do.
EHFF June 30th 2020