Next week, more than 100,000 students will be tested for coronavirus on the State University of New York system. At Harvard, thousands more do the same, as do students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Michigan.
Universities across the United States are struggling to secure tests for their students prior to Thanksgiving, according to public health experts.
The flood of tests on campus is just one of the front lines of a surge in demand for tests, as Americans want to ensure “clear everything” before they meet with family and friends.
The problem with that strategy is that the test may not pick up the infection in the early stages, as experts warn. Even if the test is negative before travel, you can still get the virus in transit, especially at hubs such as airports. If you get sick during Thanksgiving celebrations, you can infect others on your way home.
Michael Osterholm, director of the University of Minnesota Infectious Diseases Research Policy Center, said: “People use testing as a major barrier during infection, but it doesn’t work.” The job is to change your behavior. “
Test makers have warned that the country’s coronavirus outbreak has continued to accelerate in recent weeks, reducing its ability to provide tests to anyone who wants to test.
According to the Financial Times analysis of Covid Tracking Project data, the United States has performed an average of 1.3 million daily tests over the past week and more than 1.8 million tests on Thursday. The American Association of Clinical Reagents says its members run 500,000 records a day.
Quest, one of the largest companies selling diagnostic tests, said kit orders increased by 50% from the last week of September. This month, the company has already processed over 25 million tests. This is more than the whole of October, or any month since the pandemic began. Its main rival, LabCorp, said demand is also skyrocketing.
ACLA warned last week that members were having trouble procuring important supplies such as pipette tips.
The epidemic of this disease, which is widespread throughout the United States, exacerbates the problems of laboratories.
According to the Covid Tracking Project, the United States reported a record 182,832 new cases of coronavirus on Thursday, totaling more than 11.5 million. Hospitalization reached 80,698, another record.
In recent months, the lab has pooled samples to test several at once. This method helped reduce the burden of testing capacity by allowing the lab to run individual tests on only a small portion of the positive samples.
However, positive results are now so common that the lab has decided to test all the samples individually instead, causing further delays in the results.
Mara Aspinall, a professor of biomedical diagnostics at Arizona State University, said: “The demand for testing is already high, and producers say they sell all the capacity they can produce.”
“This can lead to delayed results,” he added. “The problem is that if it takes 7-10 days, it’s simply irrelevant by the time you get back.”
Public health officials are worried that the surge in demand for tests, contrary to official advice, suggests that millions of Americans are planning to travel next week.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended on Thursday that Americans stay there during Thanksgiving breaks.
Public health officials are particularly worried that in many parts of the country the cold may cause households to mix indoors. Students are also particularly aware that millions of people want to go home after a semester break, as many were trapped in dormitories while taking courses online. It poses a threat.
“People who haven’t lived in your household for 14 days before the celebration should not be considered part of your household,” said Erin Sauber Schatz, who heads the CDC’s community intervention work. “For college students going home for holidays and military personnel … Definitely need special attention.”
CDC officials said people should eat Thanksgiving outdoors if possible, or open windows and wear masks indoors. The same is true around my family. Dr. Sauber-Schatz recommended asking guests to use a separate bathroom from other households, if possible.
But experts are worried that the CDC’s enhanced guidance may have been too late to change many of the country’s travel plans.
“The plan is already in place,” said Barry Bloom, a professor of public health at Harvard University.
US holidays have already been blamed for promoting the spread of the virus. The second wave of the incident peaked in late July. Almost exactly two weeks after the Independence Day celebration. Two weeks after Memorial Day in May, a slight rise was recorded.
Bloom warned: “Just as people start traveling again for Christmas holidays, the effects of what happened at Thanksgiving in mid-December may begin to appear.”
Additional Report by Peter Wells in New York
Latest coronavirus news
Follow FT’s live coverage and analysis of pandemics and the rapidly evolving economic crisis here.
Americans flock for the Covid-19 test before Thanksgiving
Source link Americans flock for the Covid-19 test before Thanksgiving