Here is something I’ve been wondering about since the start of this pandemic: Why aren’t we testing more? Vaccines are definitely a crucial component of overcoming the pandemic. The problem with vaccines, however, is that they are complicated.
Yes, we have managed to produce several different vaccines by now, with more likely on their way. But having them is but the first step, assuming there won’t be mutations that make them ineffective. The next step, which is at least as complex as the first, is distributing those vaccines. The logistical challenges are monumental.
This is what brings me back to testing. Why aren’t we testing more? In theory, I imagine tests are easier to produce, store, and distribute, as well as significantly cheaper than vaccines. To my mind, tests that are simple to administer and produce reliable results in a short timeframe could help us transition back to normality, while also significantly easing the burden on vaccine rollout.
People could get tested in transit, at malls, even when moving from one part of a country, state, or city to another. This way, infections could be traced and isolated quickly and affected individuals treated, while Covid-free safe zones could be gradually expanded.
Of course, the cornerstone of this is having those tests. They need to be easy to do and produce reliable results quickly. It needs to be possible to administer them essentially anywhere, like a breathalyzer test.
I imagine there are good reasons why we are not currently doing this, but I wonder if the reason is that we just focused too much on other measures, if efforts to invent an adequate test have simply not been successful, or if it’s something entirely different. But still, I am left with the question: Why aren’t we testing more?