December 13, 2020

Remember testing

Testing is one of the major methods in other countries, like New Zealand, Australia, and Korea who have all done well containing outbreaks. Now New Zealand and Australia are easing up travel restrictions between each other since they have minimal infections now, making their own “bubble”.

The US has not quite gotten our act together about testing, not to mention mask wearing. Each state and county has different testing options available, or not. Some get results within a day or two, some wait so many days the results are not of great use. Some have little to no access to testing, or can’t afford it.

I am lucky to be in King County, Washington, which has increased free testing, making it easy for people to get a free test, if needed. Indeed, 1 out of 4 people living in King County has used the free testing system. This excellent New York Times article answers all your questions and explains when to get tested, the difference between tests, and how testing can help. It is worth a look to help you understand the uses and limitations of testing.

Until the vaccine is widely rolled out, we must continue trying to control the virus, although it is too late for many. We will pass 300,000 deaths in the next 24 hours, and new projections put us over 1/2 million deaths by April 1, 2021 even with the vaccine. Shocking and sad, because it didn’t really need to be that way.

The vaccine will help if we can convince people to get it. Maybe we can be like Italy and use a flower as our vaccine logo. It is going to take work to increase acceptance. News that might help is that a group of independent scientists from Washington, California, Nevada, and Oregon reviewed the data regarding the Pfizer vaccine and agree with its use in those states. This committee was formed earlier due to the increased politicization of the FDA approval process. Those states wanted an extra layer of analysis and protection before use of the vaccine. Sad that it was necessary, but welcome reassurance as well.

The vaccine is starting its roll out. Distribution will be challenging and far from a fair process. Patience is needed, a new Administration will help, we must not lose our focus. During these dark days while waiting, we must continue to support each other and look for kindness. Don’t forget to give it as well. Kindness can help shine a light during these dark days, helping with connection.

Wash your hands, cover your nose, keep six, be careful, really careful.

And finally, my caveat is that this is my experience and my opinions, which are subject to change as more information is available, and not related to the organization I work for. Thanks for reading.

https://www.nytimes.com/live/2020/12/13/world/covid-19-coronavirus/australia-and-new-zealand-plan-to-ease-travel-restrictions-between-their-countries

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/09/well/live/covid-coronavirus-testing.html

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/1-in-4-seattle-residents-has-used-the-citys-free-covid-19-testing-sites/

https://covid19.healthdata.org/united-states-of-america?view=total-deaths&tab=trend

https://www.nytimes.com/live/2020/12/13/world/covid-19-coronavirus/italy-adopts-a-flower-as-the-symbol-of-its-vaccination-campaign

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/health/inslee-pfizer-coronavirus-vaccine-gets-western-states-blessing/

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/09/well/live/covid-coronavirus-testing.html