“The game has changed a little bit,” Dr. Hong mentioned. “Before, we just had infection popping up everywhere, and we just needed broad, blanket testing access. Now we need to be much more targeted.”
Diagnostic testing is shifting from massive, authorities-run websites to smaller, extra distributed websites which can be unfold throughout native communities, Dr. Hong mentioned. Ultimately, when vaccination charges are excessive sufficient and circumstances are low sufficient, devoted testing websites won’t be wanted in any respect. “Then we just return testing to the health care system,” he mentioned, and coronavirus checks will merely be one in every of many choices on the menu on the physician’s office.
Slowing the unfold
Testing is necessary not only for figuring out particular person sufferers who want remedy but in addition for public well being. When the system is working, a well timed Covid-19 analysis is what triggers contact tracing and quarantining and might cease virus transmission in its tracks.
“The vaccine — marvelous, miraculous as it is — is not in and of itself going to contain this pandemic,” mentioned A. David Paltiel, a professor of well being coverage and administration at Yale School of Public Health.
Slowing transmission means fewer folks will get sick nevertheless it additionally provides the virus fewer alternatives to mutate. And that reduces the percentages that harmful new variants — a few of which could possibly evade vaccine-induced immunity — will emerge.
Keeping group unfold low will assist give vaccines “a fighting chance,” Dr. Paltiel mentioned. “The less work we give the vaccine to do, the better.”