Thursday, June 25, 2020

Testing! Testing!

Donald Trump has prevaricated about whether he suggested the US authorities do less testing for COVID-19.  His rationale appears to be that the less testing you do, the fewer COVID-19 cases you find, and the better you look, both internationally and domestically.  Fortunately, there is no indication the rate of testing has declined.  Widespread testing, as has been demonstrated in other countries, is key to containing the virus.

International Comparison of Positivity Rates and Tests Per Capita (Source: John Hopkins University)
The US has been doing more testing than anyone else in the world, as Trump claims, although that is only on an aggregate basis.  When you adjust for population, the US is not such a standout, though on a marginal basis (last seven days), it still ranks highly.  Of course, some countries that have brought the virus under control, aren't doing as much testing because they don't need to.

The problem for the US is that since the start of the pandemic it also ranks very highly in the number of tests that prove positive (13.86 per thousand), only beaten by the likes of Brazil, Peru, Qatar, Chile, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan and Sweden.  Countries like South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and Taiwan have a positive test rate of around 1.0 per thousand or less.

Reducing the number of tests in the US, as Trump would like, won't reduce the number of hospitalisations or deaths due to COVID-19 in the short-term, and almost certainly will increase deaths and hospitalisations in the future as the virus spreads uncontained.

My exercise for today was another 30 minutes on the bike trainer.  My hip injury felt a little better and walking around today has been less painful, so I'm becoming more optimistic.

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