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Sunday, September 20, 2020

Lack of Antigen Exams Has U.S. ‘Blind to Pandemic’

Wednesday, September 16, 2020 (Kaiser Information) — Greater than 20 states both don’t launch or have incomplete knowledge on the speedy antigen exams now thought-about key to containing the coronavirus, which has sickened greater than 6 million People. The lapses depart officers and the general public in the dead of night in regards to the true scope of the pandemic as untold numbers of instances go uncounted.

The hole will solely widen as tens of hundreds of thousands of antigen exams sweep the nation. Federal officers are prioritizing the exams to shortly detect COVID-19’s unfold over slower, however extra correct, PCR exams.

Counting on patchy knowledge on COVID testing carries huge penalties as officers determine whether or not to reopen colleges and companies: Return to regular too shortly and threat even larger outbreaks of illness. Maintain individuals at house too lengthy and threat a good larger financial disaster.

“The absence of data is a really harmful factor,” stated Janet Hamilton, govt director of the Council for State and Territorial Epidemiologists, which represents public well being officers. “We will likely be blind to the pandemic. It will likely be taking place round us and we can have no knowledge.”

The states that don’t report antigen take a look at outcomes or don’t depend antigen positives as COVID instances are California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming, in addition to the District of Columbia.

To date, many of the COVID exams given within the U.S. have been PCR exams, that are processed in medical labs and might take days to return outcomes. In contrast, antigen exams provide ends in minutes exterior of labs, interesting to everybody from medical clinics to sports activities groups and universities.

Every depends on swabs to check sufferers. However in contrast to utilizing exams run by way of labs, many suppliers who would use antigen exams don’t have a simple solution to ship knowledge electronically to public well being authorities.

Since July, although, the federal authorities has pushed roughly 5 million antigen exams into practically 14,000 nursing properties to comprise outbreaks amongst workers members and residents. The Division of Well being and Human Companies additionally awarded a $760 million contract to purchase 150 million speedy antigen exams from Abbott, the Illinois-based diagnostics behemoth. It plans to ship 750,000 of these to nursing properties beginning this week, Brett Giroir, the HHS official heading the Trump administration’s testing efforts, informed business executives on Sept. 8. Federal officers haven’t elaborated on what number of exams will likely be despatched elsewhere however have recommended many will go to governors to distribute as colleges reopen.

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