Wide-Spread Testing Is Effective At Curbing Outbreak, Yet Some Hotspots Are Ordering Doctors To Save Supplies
Health experts say at this point, locality should be taken into account. For health care systems like New York City and Seattle, they know the surge is coming. For other places, it might be worthwhile using supplies to help identify where the virus is going to spike next. Meanwhile, the California medical board is investigating doctors who offered rich clients a test in the early days of the outbreak.
The Coronavirus Testing Paradox
There’s a seeming paradox in experts’ advice on testing people for COVID-19. A growing number of epidemiologists are calling for a nationwide regimen of tests to identify hot spots and allow public health workers to isolate the close contacts of anyone who’s infected. Yet New York City, the epicenter of the outbreak in the U.S., has ordered doctors not to test anyone who is “mild to moderately ill” with COVID-like symptoms, a position also taken by Los Angeles. As New York’s Health Department succinctly put it: “Outpatient testing must not be encouraged, promoted or advertised.” (Engelberg, 3/23)
The Washington Post:
State Coronavirus Testing Numbers Vary
Epidemiologists and other leading scientists seeking to decipher test result patterns and slow the advance of the coronavirus are stumbling over the huge disparities among the ways states administer or report information. Some states are keeping negative tests secret while others aren’t. Some track state lab results, while ignoring test results from private companies. Some restrict the availability of tests, while others test widely. (Mufson, Tran and Dennis, 3/23)
The Associated Press:
Testing Blunders Crippled US Response As Coronavirus Spread
A series of missteps at the nation’s top public health agency caused a critical shortage of reliable laboratory tests for the coronavirus, hobbling the federal response as the pandemic spread across the country like wildfire, an Associated Press review found. President Donald Trump assured Americans early this month that the COVID-19 test developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is “perfect” and that “anyone who wants a test can get a test.” But more than two months after the first U.S. case of the new disease was confirmed, many people still cannot get tested. (Biesecker, Stobbe and Perrone, 3/23)
Los Angeles Times:
Coronavirus Tests: Medical Board Looking Into 'Concierge Doctors'
The Medical Board of California is looking into physicians selling COVID-19 tests while sick people around the country can’t get tested because of a nationwide shortage, a board spokesman said Monday morning. The inquiry comes after The Times reported that “concierge” doctors who cater to rich people and celebrities have been selling testing to patients and their families, in some cases even if they have no symptoms or any other reason to be tested. (Elmahrek, Kaufman and Poston, 3/23)