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What About This?

By Wayne William Cipriano

There is a lot of stuff that I do not understand concerning the presidential race, and I’m sure that puts most of us in the same bucket.

So much of what we are subjected to every day, and will only increase as the election approaches, is so dependent on our preconceptions that any new information, no matter how powerful, will be embraced or rejected simply because of what we believed before we received that information.

So many ridiculous arguments are being made around the simplest issues that we spend a lot of our time shaking our heads in frustration and then just laughing.

There is one issue, or plan, or argument or suggestion that seems to me should be a leading platform addition to every presidential campaign and that I have not heard from anyone. It has to do with Covid-19 testing.

Why has not every presidential aspirant included in their political platforms a demand for a Covid-19 test that is 95% accurate and has immediately available results?

So much energy, time, and resources, including of course, money, is being spent on so many aspects of Covid-19 control and cure- identification- has been ignored by everyone I have heard of. What I am suggesting is that every presidential candidate, indeed, every candidate for any political office, anywhere, include in their political promises a demand for an accurate Covid-19 test that produces results immediately.

Such a test that could immediately identify anyone with the virus, whether they were showing symptoms or not, would be of incalculable value. Any reader can easily work out how beneficial such a test would be, so I won’t waste space listing those benefits.

So, why haven’t politicians made that demand? I am truly mystified. My limited imagination can come up with only a few reasons, among which are cost, difficulty, and resistance to testing.

It may cost a lot in resources as well as re-juggled priorities to get an accurate and immediate test placed ahead of other Covid-19 considerations. But it would be worth that cost. Yes, a 95% effective vaccine and a very robust therapeutic regime that treats existing Covid-19 cases are very important! A test that we can rely on would seriously limit the need for therapeutics by limiting the spread of Covid-19, especially by those who are asymptomatic and be very helpful as we wait for the development and dissemination of an effective vaccine.

It may be difficult to devise an accurate and immediate test, in fact, it must be because such a test would be so advantageous. But difficulty should not be, cannot be a deciding factor arguing against pretty much any progress, let alone such a useful tool as an accurate and immediate Covid-19 test. Only “impossibility” should enter into a discussion of the difficulty of a Covid-19 test.

And now we come to resistance. I completely understand and even share some of the reluctance to emplace “foreign substances” like vaccines into our bodies for putative benefits. Some of the familiar vaccines have proved to be vastly beneficial (smallpox vaccine which removed that terrible disease from the face of the earth) as well as vastly detrimental (Swine Flu vaccine). And so, a modicum or more of healthy skepticism in terms of these emplacements is mandatory. We must be shown, scientifically and credibly, that the touted benefits FAR outweigh the risks before we accept any such substances into our bodies.

This, however, has no relation to a Covid-19 test. For Covid-19 testing, sterile devices are used to extract tissue from us to be tested for the virus. Whether it is mucus, saliva, blood, or whatever that is tested, removing such material from our bodies cannot do us any harm but may save a life or lives. 

Of course, there are always the full-race wackos who oppose science, oppose medicine, who will resist any progress, who, driven by strange and perverted belief systems, will allow themselves, their children, their community to be ravaged by this invisible monster because, well, who knows what silly reasoning they will employ? Everything from unconstitutionality to “we have never done it that way” and everything in between.

Finally, there is a real concern related to any testing regardless of how long it takes to get the results or how accurate it may be. That concern is what happens when a positive Covid-19 infection is detected. What will happen to me, what will I be forced to do or prevented from doing should my test read positive for Covid-19 infection? An answer to that concern is self-administration of a Covid-19 test. I get a testing kit and use it on myself. I get the results accurately, immediately, and privately. I guess it could be something like an over-the-counter home pregnancy test.

Yes, there is no guarantee that once I find out I am a Covid-19 victim, especially if I have no symptoms, I would take the appropriate steps to protect others from me. Which is exactly the situation now, except now I could infect others, maybe a lot of others, while I’m waiting for my test results.

So, how many of us who know we are Covid-19 hot would disregard the protocols that would protect others from us? Unfortunately, some. But not many. I say that because it seems to me that when most people have symptoms and they are tested, and they wait for the results, and them find out they are infected, the majority, the size-able majority protect others. They mask, they quarantine, they isolate, they take whatever treatment is available. We do the right things to care for ourselves and for others. As soon as we find out we have it. Not all of us, not all of the time, but most of us and most of the time.

This is why I am so surprised that a huge effort underscored by every political candidate of whatever stripe has not been made to demand a Covid-19 test that is accurate and immediate. I see a lot of upside and almost no downside.

But, maybe that’s just me. What do you think?