Notice the difference? Can you spot who in the COVID-19 group is infected and who is not?
You can’t – and that’s the problem.
You can only find out who has and who has had a COVID-19 infection by testing their blood either for the virus or for antibodies against the virus. The UK is, according to government ministers, ranked third in the world for testing. This is disputed by Full Fact who say we rank seventh in the world (https://fullfact.org/health/coronavirus-testing-numbers-UK/).
Whatever the numbers it is not enough. There are 8,769,122 over 70s in the UK (source http://www.agediscrimination.info/current-uk-population), the at risk group (I am one of them and so is my wife). The Government says it is going to ramp up testing to 25,000 per day. At that rate it would take 351 days just to test people over 70, never mind all the other groups at risk.
The Government should issue an order to all UK diagnostic kit companies to focus their production on COVID-19 test kits. They need to test for the virus as well as for antibodies against the virus. All non-essential kit manufacture should cease. If necessary, kits should be sourced from abroad from countries that have got over the coronavirus epidemic peak e.g. South Korea, Taiwan and even China. A mass programme of testing, tracking and isolation needs to happen and in double quick time.
If you want to see what can be achieved through testing and tracing look at the example of South Korea with its population of just over 50 million. South Korea has conducted over 300,000 tests on its citizens. As a result, the coronavirus pandemic appears to have now peaked (see https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-52001837).
So I wait with interest what UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will be saying this evening about coronavirus testing, tracing and isolation. Will he follow the World Health Organisation’s recommendation to TEST, TEST, TEST (https://www.who.int/dg/speeches/detail/who-director-general-s-opening-remarks-at-the-media-briefing-on-covid-19—16-march-2020)
All views expressed are the personal views of Professor Colin Garner. To understand the relationship between respiratory viral and bacterial infection please read HERE