Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Michael Mina reminds us we may need wartime rapid tests to stop variants like Delta


Reno, 2018-9

Michael Mina tweeted this evening a reminder that we really could have put ourselves into a wartime production mode for rapid tests for everyone, and stopped Delta from ever getting here.    (See also Aug. 20 post.) 

Here’s the link to the Aug 2020 article by Robinson Meyer and Alexis Madrigal. 

It’s now apparent that vaccinated people really shouldn’t get out of being tested often and facing the risk of quarantines, if you really want to get rid of the virus completely, and want to talk about “common good”.

What you need is very clearcut policies on the obligations of people when they are sent home after a positive test.  This is wartime.  If you can’t board a plane because of a positive test, does your ticket get refunded?  Who bears the cost of the risk when it materializes.  That has always been a problem no one would address.

In Australia and New Zealand, we’re hearing all kinds of stories of police treating ordinary citizens as Basic Training recruits.  But the use of rapid tests (even without vaccines) could drive the reproduction numbers to zero in a few weeks if done on a large enough scale.  (Then you do the mass vaccination, all at once.) 

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