Coronavirus

Massive Coronavirus Testing Is the Way to Help Save the Economy

No time to waste; do it sooner rather than later.

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The fastest and safest way out of the rising coronavirus pandemic is "to test as many people as possible," argue three researchers in a smart op-ed in the Washington Post. "If we know who is infected, who is not and who has recovered, we could greatly relax social isolation requirements and send both the uninfected and the recovered back to work." Medical professors Anthony LaMantia and Gordon Douglas along with environmental policy researcher Tim Searchinger note that either locking down the country for months until a vaccine is developed or a strategy of alternating between intermittent periods of isolation and normalcy are both economically untenable. The latter risks igniting a larger epidemic that crashes our health care system at a later date.

By massively scaling up two types of tests—PCR tests that detect the active presence of virus and serology tests that detect immune system responses to being infected by the virus—population screening could identify those who are currently infected and those who have recovered and are likely not to pass along the virus to others. Those who are currently infected could be isolated and their contacts traced so that they could quarantine themselves. Frequent large-scale testing of the uninfected would also help keep the epidemic in check by enabling them to withdraw if they subsequently contract the virus for a period of self-isolation in a timely fashion. Frontline health care providers and especially hard-hit regions should be given first priority as the testing regime begins its rapid expansion.

Those who had recovered from infection (possibly numbering ten times more than those whose symptoms drive them to seek out medical care) could help on the frontlines of the fight against COVID-19, return to work, and enjoy the pleasures of social life, e.g., dining out, meeting friends at bars, traveling, and attending performances at entertainment venues. "To make this strategy work, governments would need to involve employers, social organizations, schools and large retailers to conduct tests and provide time-stamped certifications," propose the three researchers.

To ramp up both kinds of testing, the researchers urge that every laboratory capable of running PCR tests be pressed into service recruiting technicians, graduate students, and scientists to run the machines. Even better, Mesa Biotech just announced today that it has received Emergency Use Authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to roll out its point-of-use 30-minute PCR test for the virus. Other companies should be encouraged to provide such tests.

As I also argued last week, the researchers argue that widespread deployment of serology tests for the presence of antibodies to coronavirus needs to be prioritized. This would identify people who had recovered and could safely go back to life outside of lockdown. Over at the Wall Street Journal, the perspicacious former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb also recommends massively scaling up serological surveillance. When population screening reveals that "a sizable portion of a local community has some protection, authorities can be more confident in relying on less invasive measures. Once deployed, serological tests are cheap, straightforward, and easy to scale."

Several companies have already developed such tests. For example, North Carolina-based BioMedomics' Chinese sister company has already sold 500,000 of its rapid serology tests in China and the test is widely available in Europe. These companies are still awaiting FDA approval for use in the U.S.

The three researchers in their Washington Post op-ed argue that the federal government should assume whatever expenses are necessary to fund a massive mobilization to enable hundreds of millions of Americans to be tested. It's going to be a while before a semblance of normal life can be restored, but testing everybody is a big step on the path to that goal.

NEXT: Law Professors quietly agree with my post on pass/fail grading

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  1. Thank you. To bad the CDC buerecrats did whatever they could to scuttle any tests that could have been approved setting us weeks behind the eight ball. People need to see the deathrate is less than 1% it would quiet some of the hysterics down, mass testing would do that. There hasn’t been a hysteria like this in this country since the Salem witch trials. In this case the Economy is the witch, the accusing whores are the media, politicians and CDC and the rest of us are just along for the ride.

    1. Forgot to mention the mob being the white gentry class still working from home collecting checks. Who will be wondering what happened when we are all in bread lines in a month and this thing “only” kills tens of thousands as opposed to the millions they are bleating about.

      1. I was told just last week that by this time this week a 100 thousand would be dead and the hospitals would be completely overun. It’s funny to see the goal posts moved. There’s no end in sight and no metrics for what success looks like, this is every incompetent governments dream scenario. By the time it occurs to the states just how deep of shit they are in it will be too late(feds can’t back the unemployment benefits required or sales taxes come due whichever comes first).

        1. It’s coming! Two more weeks!

          Just like Bush promised to get us out of Iraq in “six more months”.

          It’s almost like they are doing everything they can to keep tests out of the hands of the regular people, AND they are only gathering the scariest data to drag this thing out as long as possible.

          Obviously if you’re only testing critical cases, 100% of your confirmed cases will be critical. To find out what percentage of ACTUAL cases are critical, you need to have a better idea of how many cases there are!

          1. To find out what percentage of ACTUAL cases are critical, you need to have a better idea of how many cases there are!

            A lot like illegal aliens, no?

        2. Well, in all fairness that would have been the case if anyone had survived the horrors of the repeal of net neutrality.

    2. Another way of flattening the curve is improving treatments and prevention medically.

      That limits both harm and spread. The FDA is busy killing us with delay on hydroxychloroquine use as both a treatment and preventive.

      If you were going to a region with malaria, your doctor would give you a tub of the stuff and send you on your way. No sensible reason not to do this now.

      We’re not doing it only because bureaucrats gotta bureaucrat, and therefore more die and our economy is further strangled as we continue to limit our ability to reduce harm and spread.

    3. Let’s have a worldwide block party…or call it Freedom Party. Either way, we all get it, which is an eventuality anyway. The chips fall where they may, we all return to work, and the world economy doesn’t tank. I’m more afraid of how many will die because of government stupidity, than the <1% death rate of the boogeyman virus.

    4. Yep, massive testing is the only way. There are too many who carry the virus but have no symptoms. They can pass it on to others. We have to find all of them and quarantine them and be sure to have killed there virus. We may have to test more than 100 million of the residents in the US

  2. YES. FINALLY.

    We would already have a timetable to normalcy if the Head Idiots In Charge had ordered this from the get go.

    1. The stock markets and the yield curve won’t settle down until they know how long it will take for consumers to come back, but we won’t know how long this will take until we see new infections peak and then fall. So how do we find that out?

      Plot number of infections vs. time. From college calculus, as I recall, you can find the maximum in a parabola by taking the derivative of the equation, setting it equal to zero, and solving. But what’s the equation? Does anybody know where we are on the curve for an equation that doesn’t exist yet? The correct answer is “no”. If we could do that, we could identify the high point in a stock valuation before it happens and sell at its maximum. We can’t do that because the future prices of stocks, like the number of people who will be infected in the future, is uncertain.

      It’s like an internet stock during the dot-com boom. Pets.com keeps going up and up and up and up and up, and we know it’s going to come crashing down at some point, but it might not be this quarter or next quarter. On the other hand, it might be tomorrow. Or maybe it’s like Tesla. Their stock price was predicated on delivery numbers that were completely impractical–and then Elon Musk SOB actually came through and beat his unrealistic expectations! I appreciate that Telsa’s stock was due for a big correction because of the coronavirus, but months before the virus hit, there was no way to know whether they’d peak next month or three years from now.

      The point is that the stock markets an the yield curve won’t calm down from the uncertainty of when consumers come back until they see the number of infections peak and then come down. Looking at other countries, our worst case scenario for that may be a couple of months. You want to decrease that expectation (with reason and statistics) if you can, but testing a bunch of asymptomatic people out there and throwing their numbers into the uncertainty hole won’t make the hole smaller or bring the date that the consumers come back any sooner. In fact, it will cloud the numbers further and that’s a bad thing.

  3. People who wish to be tested should be free to do so.

    “Seventy-seven percent of people infected with SARS there contracted it in the hospital. They were patients, visitors and health-care workers. Another 17% got it at home, often from a health-care worker who lived with them.”

    —-Wall Street Journal, “U.S. Hospitals Aren’t Ready for the Coronavirus”

    94% were infected either at a healthcare facility or from a family member who was a healthcare worker?!

    If you want me to go to a testing center right now, you better send the police because I won’t go willingly.

    People who share a residence with the elderly or those with various hyperactive autoimmune disorders should likewise be reluctant to risk exposing themselves to the coronavirus in exchange for testing.

    And, no, I’m not opening up my home to let a healthcare worker traipse through it either.

    1. Let’s all rush to the testing centers!

    2. I actually thought the recommendation from the Wuhan coronavirus task force was a good one: If you don’t have symptoms, don’t bother with a test. At least, for the time being. That will probably change in a week, once we have a large enough data set to make good data driven decisions. We are close to this, certainly by April 1.

      Sit tight. 15 days in the life of a nation, or anyone’s life is a small segment in time.

      1. Part of that advice was because they didn’t have enough tests for people with symptoms. If you have symptoms, they need to know if you’re positive for coronavirus or if you just have the flu. If they don’t have enough tests for people symptoms and you’re taking the test just because you want to know, you’re genuinely hurting people. If that isn’t the case anymore, and they enough tests so that you can be tested without depriving someone with symptoms of a test, then that opens things up. Everyone who wants to be tested should be free to do so. People who wish to cloister themselves and not be tested should also be free to do so. We should all be free to make choices for ourselves–so long as we don’t violate anyone’s rights. Oh, and the definition of rights is the obligation to respect other people’s choices.

        1. Ken, very shortly we will have self-administered tests, meaning in days. So that will be solved pretty rapidly. The FDA already approved the test, in record time. By mid-April, we should have much better incidence data by zip code. By the end of April, we’ll have a finger stick serologic test. Net net: everyone who wants to get a test will be able to get one on demand within a month.

          It is a supply chain issue and distribution issue…and we (the US) are the all-time champs at solving supply chain and distribution issues. I will also say this system had to be modified extensively on the fly, and it is a testament to our American ingenuity that this country could actually pull something like that off.

          Were there enough tests to go around…? No. Isn’t it common sense in the face of the biggest global pandemic in the last century, you’d reserve the tests for people showing symptoms? Yeah, it is. I’m pretty sure it is also common sense to figure out where tests are needed most, the places of most intense outbreak. Right now, NYC is that place. Hell, my bus commute stop was across from the Javits center. That place is huge. If they are making that into a hospital, they are planning on a lot of sick people.

          I wonder what the historians will write of this time in our country’s history. Meaning, from December 2019 through November 2020. What a time to be alive to see history being made like this.

          May God send a refuah schleimah (a complete recovery) to everyone afflicted by the Wuhan coronavirus. Especially now in NYC.

    3. Much better to allow in-home testing using the serum antibody test. Unfortunately, the FDA is yet to approve those (despite being simple enough to conduct at home)

      1. Simplicity, or lack there of is not the issue. The issue with such tests is: Do they adequately distinguish positive COVID 19 from all the other corona virus that routinely infect people.

        Detecting antibodies to corona virus is easy, limiting positives to this particular one only (or at least having a damned good idea of the rate of false positives) is not easy.

    4. “People who wish to be tested should be free to do so.”

      People who wish to *self medicate* with hydroxychloroquine should be free to do so.

      A *libertarian* magazine that had been supporting the right to self *medicate* instead of just the right to self *intoxicate* would have been in a position to say “told you so, now are you gonna listen?”

      Unfortunately, only me and a few other commenters are in that position now.

    5. One hospital in Korea tested 1,800 people and more than 20 staff got infected.

  4. “Among 62 soldiers severely infected during the first wave of the A/Asian/57 (H2N2) pandemic in 1957, 17 were asymptomatically reinfected with the same virus within six months. In the 1962 epidemic the rate increased to 41%. Among reinfected soldiers studied, 68% had an asymptomatic infection; only 10% were severely symptomatic, and they were found to be infected with a virus closely related to A/Asian/57. For H3N2 epidemics, the rate of reinfection was 17% among students studied in 1970 who were reinfected with a virus closely related to the prototype A/Hong Kong/68 (H3N2). Reinfection with an extremely drifted variant of H3N2 was found to be 32% and 69% in two groups of students studied in 1972. Reinfection with a related virus was 32% in another group studied in 1983. Among the students studied who were reinfected with H3N2 viruses, the rates of asymptomatic infection were similar to those of symptomatic infection. The reinfection rates with a virus related to A/USSR/77 (H1N1) were 9.3% and 20% in two groups studied in 1980.”

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3941288

    Has anyone done any studies on the reinfection rate of the coronavirus because my understanding is that having been infected in the past doesn’t mean you won’t become reinfected, and it doesn’t mean you can’t become contagious again either.

    1. “Has anyone done any studies on the reinfection rate of the coronavirus because my understanding is that having been infected in the past doesn’t mean you won’t become reinfected, and it doesn’t mean you can’t become contagious again either.”

      If either of those are true, then you can kiss a vaccine goodbye. Most viral illnesses provide recent immunity to reinfection attempts. There are some notable exceptions, dengue, HIV. Your body makes antibodies to the antigens on that particular virus, plus immune cells whose purpose is to recognize subsequent infection attempts.

      So, the default is, get Covid-19 once, and you should be good against subsequent exposures. Until the virus mutates sufficiently, of course.

      1. You can’t become reinfected with a virus until it has mutated and is no longer the original virus. This is true with flus and colds every year.

        1. See dengue, and the antibody-enhanced infection modality it can show on subsequent infections with slightly different subtypes. Which end up being much more severe than the first bout with the virus. At the start of the Covid-19 scare, there were limited accounts that Covid might exhibit similar behavior. It’s definitely far from the norm with viruses though and is not, AFAIK, shown with Covid infection. Which is great.

          There are also studies that showed a serious to critical Covid infection lowered CD4 cell concentrations beyond what you’d expect for a raging viral infection. Which is weird. I don’t know if those findings have been replicated.

    2. I think so far the studies suggesting reinfection were later found to have been false negatives.

  5. I have this weird feeling that the day is eventually coming when employers across America will be required to periodically perform medical tests on their employees the same way they’re required to provide withhold taxes and provide health insurance options.

    1. More likely, any employee who calls in and says “I don’t feel good” will be required to be paid for however long it takes for said employee to claim he feels good again. And that will be worse than the Soviet Union where at least you had to pretend to work in order to get paid.

      1. Yup. That mandatory sick leave provision is never going away.

    2. I have this weird feeling that the day is eventually coming when *government workers* will perform the required tests.

  6. TECHNICAL SUGGESTION: IONIZING RADIATION… PLEASE SPREAD THIS IF YOU CAN…

    I am reading that many doctors are re-using face masks to see multiple patients, contrary to normal practice. This may help spread the virus (normally they use a fresh mask for each patient, when dealing with communicable diseases).

    For lack of enough fresh masks, why not a crash program to build and deploy more gear for using ionizing radiation to quickly sterilize masks for re-use? My “Google that Knows All” tells me that ionizing radiation WILL kill viruses! Especially in dry light-weight (radiation permeable) stuff like face masks.

    “The Google” tells me very, very little about this being deployed here for this purpose! Anyone in a position to get this suggestion to the right people? Please do that if you can… I am old and tired, and doubt that anyone will listen to me, a peon, w/o a fancy medical degree…

    1. My God, do you want future kids to be born with three heads and two penises or something?

      1. Yes, Luddite anti-tech “scared of anything scary-sounding” is part of resistance to such things. The other thing is, one out of 153,948 doctors and nurses will be utterly bone-headedly stupid, bypass ALL of the irradiator safety switches, nuke themselves, and win $20 billion in the lawsuit lottery! Thanks, all you effing parasitical lawyers!

        Summary: Luddites and lawyers is why we can’t have nice things!

        1. Right, but you’re the guy giving advice while also admitting you want to eat shit.

      2. Well, if it gets future kids born with both a penis and a vagina, it will stop a lot of the current babble about sex/gender.

    2. I’m a fan of ionizing radiation/UV-B/C but it’s complicated and there’s a reason why we have an FDA for this sort of thing.

      -The less permeable and more resistant the mask is to airflow and contagion, the more resistant the whole apparatus is to ionizing radiation. Moreover, ionizing radiation and reuse break down the mask.

      -It’s not entirely clear that Drs. are “reusing” masks for lack of supply, habit, or forgetfulness/laziness. If it takes even a couple minutes to sterilize a mask (see above) it’s just as likely that the money put into UV-B/C sterilization would be subverted either intentionally or not.

      -In addition to masks, ionizing radiation is hazardous to lots of other stuff too. Namely, it causes skin cancer and cataracts in a pretty dose-dependent fashion not to mention a whole host of other problems.

      I like the idea of using ionizing radiation but as a knee-jerk response to a pandemic and/or in order to make up for a shortage of masks, I think it’s a bad idea.

      1. FYI…

        https://www.vox.com/2020/3/22/21189896/coronavirus-in-us-masks-n95-respirator-doctors-nurses-shortage-ppe
        “We are desperate”: Trump’s inaction has created a crisis with protective medical gear
        Health workers battling Covid-19 now have to stretch their supplies in risky ways.

        end titles imports

        I believe that you’re correct about weakening materials through repeated re-ionizing treatments. … Related matter for geeks: In foods, it creates “radiolytic byproducts” (something like that) by adding cross-links between food molecules. They simply become indigestible but harmless, according to all ACTUAL SCIENCE that I’ve ever read.

        I suspect that most ANY type of re-sterilization process is going to help wear out your masks… And keeping stupid people from putting their hands (or other appendages!) in the nuker-machine is a problem! WHY I can buy for myself, a microwave oven, but NOT a food irradiator, because of armies of excess lawyers protecting me from my own stupid? I do NOT get it!

        (Well OK, there is the matter of disposing of the radioactive material itself, in a responsible manner).

        1. Right, but you said you want to eat shit.

        2. Right, but what are your thoughts on your lack of freedom to blow on cheap plastic flutes?

          1. Friggin’ FDA blows, and are lap-dogs for the AMA! AMA would make us get prescriptions before we’d be allowed to scratch our own assholes, if they thought that they could get away with it! GRRRRR!!!!

            (Good morning to you as well!)

      2. Do you think a mask would be impervious to the high-intensity beta radiation that they use on meat?

        I don’t see why there’s risk of cancer to the wearer of the mask either, since it’s not like you’d irradiate while the person is wearing it.

        1. How many steaks have you irradiated dipshit?

          Do you think a mask would be impervious to the high-intensity beta radiation that they use on meat?

          Show me where I said impervious you illiterate moron.

          I don’t see why there’s risk of cancer to the wearer of the mask either,

          That says more about your intelligence and the likelihood that you would be the one caught in the machine after you’d disabled the safeguards.

          Isn’t there a big glass of aquarium cleaner with your name on it somewhere?

          1. Casually Mad said this:
            “-In addition to masks, ionizing radiation is hazardous to lots of other stuff too. Namely, it causes skin cancer and cataracts in a pretty dose-dependent fashion not to mention a whole host of other problems.”

            HOW am I going to get skin cancer from a mask that I have irradiated in a food-irradiation-style nuke-machine, unless I am utterly stupid enough to stick a part of my body in there? Magic cooties transfer? Virus cooties ARE REAL, and magic irradiation cooties are NOT real! Nothing is perfect… Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good! HOW LONG till humans learn this simple lesson?

    3. That can’t possibly work until the FDA says that it does. Their say so rules reality.

      Pray to the FDA Commissioner, and maybe he will speak his Words of Power and save us!

    4. Hospitals already sterilize their masks with UV.

  7. it will be great we all get our appointments and get to tested to feel safe and secured with our love ones. while having some cartridgeshoponline to get along with the isolation

  8. These companies are still awaiting FDA approval for use in the U.S.

    What a shock.

  9. The three researchers in their Washington Post op-ed argue that the federal government should assume whatever expenses are necessary to fund a massive mobilization to enable hundreds of millions of Americans to be tested.

    “Nah, let’s spend $2.5 trillion on unrelated bullshit instead.” – Congressional Democrats

    1. There hasn’t been a bill like this in 12 years, so of course they are going to pour everything from their checklist into it. They will pass a $3T bill and hand it out to the connected just in time for us to all realize this was much ado about nothing. Oh well, sorry about your retirement fund or your savings or your job!

  10. So when it turns out we’ve all been exposed to this repeatedly over the last two months and the politicians shotgunned our economy in the face for nothing…..then what?

    Cause from where I’m sitting, they’re gonna conjure up trillions of bucks to hand out to the connected while buying up all the small businesses that were forced into bankruptcy.

    1. Trump loses!!! We all win!!!

      Then… Behold the next massive pandemic, requiring all of those shelter-in-place laws + now rationing! And at the same time, while everyone is locked away, we unveil the Green New Deal. Or a mandatory AR buyback. Or whatever else is on the left wishlist.

      1. I don’t even see that first result as likely. Obviously millions of people aren’t going to die, Trump didn’t order the economy shutdown (governors did), and there will be plenty of time to start the comeback before November. Plus, Trump is running against Joe Biden.

        The media basically just raised the expectations of death so high that Trump can’t help but succeed.

  11. For those who are interested in the numbers, the CDC released its first update this morning, and the number is at 44,183.

    https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-updates/cases-in-us.html?

    There was some discussion the last time we had this topic in a thread, and some of you were posting to this same link because it contained a graph that showed the number of cases might already have peaked, however, as we surmised at the time, the number of cases on the tail end of that graph had not yet been updated.

    It’s been updated now, and the number of cases has not peaked. Rather, the virus appears to have been spreading at an increasing rate.

    1. And once again, it appears that way because our testing is spreading at an increasing rate. If we had been doing as much testing two weeks ago as we are doing now, the curve would look totally different.

      Slowly increasing testing will make the data look like the virus is spreading regardless. Widespread random testing is the data we need.

      1. I don’t understand why you seem to think that throwing the results of asymptomatic people into the curve will make it seem as though the number of infections isn’t increasing. as much. It seems to me that adding those numbers into the graph will make the curve steeper. Even worse, it will presumably take longer for the number of asymptomatic people to tail off. By testing asymptomatic people, you’re making the data cloudier, and you’re stretching the curve out over a longer period of time.

        1. Deaths have gone up too.

          1. Deaths THAT WE KNOW OF have gone up, because we’re testing more! It’s nearly impossible to believe that for the last two months we’ve been catching every covid death. This thing kills old sick people with underlying issues, which doesn’t raise much of an eyebrow. How many of our 23k flu deaths were actually covid? If we could know that information we could tell where we were on the curve.

            1. Nah, after, what? 1st week of March or so, I’m pretty sure that anybody showing up with pneumonia and croaking was given a Covid test postmortem. Doesn’t account for deaths in January or February, but how many non-specific pneumonia deaths occurred in those months versus now? I agree with you; I think there were a lot, and given the low death rate, that would mean a large amount of people have been infected that aren’t showing up in the stats.

              That said, I think we have a handle now on the number of deaths of someone also infected with Covid. At least, I hope we do. And those are going up. 100- ish day before yesterday, 130 the day after. Worldometers has been fairly consistent about this sort of thing. Were we running 130 nonspecific pneumonia deaths a day nationwide in Jan and Feb?

              1. Were we running 130 nonspecific pneumonia deaths a day nationwide in Jan and Feb?
                ——————–
                Those numbers would easily be lost in the noise of worldwide deaths, especially with WHO those deaths are killing (old, sick people that we’re unlikely to be curious about). Also, since at least SOME of the deaths are due to running out of beds, you’d expect SOME uptick as capacity is reached. (However, we still don’t know how much of the initial filling up was covid)

                We’re probably capturing CLOSE to all the deaths by now, but certainly not ALL, as we just don’t have that many tests.

                1. It makes me wonder if there’s not some other reason we’re not testing…like maybe the conspiracy theorists are right, maybe it started here either in some lab.

                  1. The government certainly seems interested in getting only scary data, not useful data. They are rapidly losing my good faith.

                  2. The virus has been sequenced dozens of times around theworld. Your can check the sequences yourself. It’s not man made.

              2. If you should happen to get a diligence attack, go to the CDC’s “Fluview” site, where you can download the weekly stats for influenza and pneumonia. There is no evident sign that COVID-19 deaths have been misclassified.

                1. Those are confirmed cases, though. These would obviously be unconfirmed. Regardless, considering the flu numbers, would we even notice an extra 10%? A few years ago it was like 4x normal and nobody freaked out.

                2. I do see this has the 2nd highest “Percentage of flu-like visits” in the last (decade?) during this season, trailing only the flu season from a couple years ago that I was talking about.

        2. I don’t think that at all. In fact, I’m quite positive that massively testing will show huge giant spikes in cases just like everywhere else. But that doesn’t mean they are new cases, just cases that are NEWLY DISCOVERED.

          Random testing gives us an idea of how many people have ALREADY HAD this thing without knowing it, as well as telling us how many people have it now without symptoms. If a large number of people have already been infected over the course of the last couple months, suiciding our economy might not be the best course of action.

          If you only test severe cases, you’re obviously biasing your sample and every confirmed case will be serious. Gathering only this data will prolong the panic of the unknown and drastically overstate the seriousness of the disease.

          1. Once again, the devastation to our economy is about the uncertainty of how long until we hit a peak. That’s what’s making the stock markets and the yield curve crazy. The data you want to collect will cloud those results. It may be useful for other purposes, but not to calm the stock markets or the yield curve.

            Bailey apparently wants to use this information on an individual basis down at the grass roots so that certainly individuals will feel confident about going back to work or going out and doing some shopping. That makes more sense because it’s directly related to the economy. I maintain that those people should be free to get themselves tested if they want.

            And those who wish to remain cloistered without testing should also be free to do so.

            1. Once again, the devastation to our economy is about the uncertainty of how long until we hit a peak.
              ———
              I disagree. If 25% of our workforce can immediately resume work, those people don’t care about when the peak is coming. If it’s a mathematical certainty that thing has already swept the country but was lost in the noise, the whole problem evaporates tomorrow.

              One thing is for sure, as long as we’re expanding testing but only testing severe cases, the biased sample is drawing out the amount of time that it takes to “recover”.

    2. Why are you using date reported instead of illness onset?

      1. Because I didn’t see it all the way at the bottom. They seem to have added the date reported graph since the last time I looked, and so I thought I was looking at date of onset. They still haven’t changed the date of onset. I suspect that requires “investigation”, and they probably don’t have time for that. They probably could keep up with that statistic when there were under 4,000 cases (last Sunday, the 14th, when they stopped counting). It looks like now they’re reporting them as the date they received the report–and that doesn’t take any investigation at all. Interviewing 44,000 people to figure out when they started showing symptoms is probably just to much work, when reporting the date it was reported to CDC does just as well.

  12. Reason magazine’s case for spending gobs of government money so that the government can decide which asymptomatic COVID-19 carriers it must quarantine and which potential carriers it needs to keep an eye on.

    I’d ask Ron if he has no shame but I’m sure he’ll feel blessed to have been chosen when they put him in solitary confin… quarantine for the crime of testing positive. FFS, it’s like Ron watched Minority Report † and thought “That’s a good idea!”.

    † R.I.P. Max Von Sydow (No COVID).

    1. It seems to me that Mr. Bailey is a utilitarian libertarian, which may seem ironic but probably shouldn’t be completely unexpected from a libertarian science reporter. Utilitarians, like scientists, love them some data and are practically incapable of dealing with qualitative criteria. I appreciate having someone who sees this differently, but I also understand that we’ll disagree on this stuff because we see the world differently. I also can’t blame his critics for seeing some of these things as falling on the wrong side of the libertarian authoritarian divide. Whether it’s forced immunization or forced testing, utilitarians aren’t about to recognize the qualitative benefits of letting “stupid” people infect innocent children with the measles or destroy the economy–not even in the name of libertarainism. I don’t see things that way, but if Bailey weren’t here to make those cases at these times, we’d want someone around to make them–and they wouldn’t do as good of a job as he does on a consistent basis. I don’t have to agree with him to appreciate his work.

      1. “utilitarians aren’t about to recognize the qualitative benefits of letting “stupid” people infect innocent children with the measles or destroy the economy–not even in the name of libertarainism”

        And yet, Ron Bailey gets published

      2. Bailey is NOT a Libertarian.

      3. It seems to me that Mr. Bailey is a utilitarian libertarian

        Seems to me that the two terms aren’t at odds with one another but Ron routinely forsakes the latter for the former and not through any quantitative fact-based analysis. He’s not incapable of dealing with qualitative criteria any more than your average monkey is incapable of using their left hand. I’m sure he’d suddenly develop an appreciation for qualitative intangibles if the discussion turned in a ‘one utilitarian libertarian science reporter is as good as another’ direction.

  13. It’s a cookbook!
    I will let a fully exposed health care worker stick a needle in me or shove a swab up my anywhere only when all the ammo is gone, and my arms are too tired to swing a blade. And they better bring friends.

    1. It’s worse than that.

      Maybe they’ll give you a license to buy if you pass a coronavirus test?

      “And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:

      And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

      Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six”

      —-Revelation 13:16-17

      I’ve seen people make VICARVS FILII DEI = 666, and I’ve seen people do the same thing with “BARNEY the PURPLE DINOSAUR”, but has anyone ever done JOSEPH ROBINETTE BIDEN II?

  14. Let me see if I have this straight. You are proposing that in order to live our lives as free people we must submit to a government mandated medical test?

    1. And get vaccinated too, when that shows up.

    2. Sorry bud, that’s how science works. It doesn’t care about your pro-crony-capitalist ideology

    3. Let me see if I understand you. You like all things about living in a first world country. The road, good health care, plenty of food, good jobs, and such. But you don’t want to take any responsibility associated with the good life. You want the freedom from government that you might have had 200 years ago living on the frontier, but with a Krieg coffee maker with that freedom.

      1. Krieg coffee

        I love the smell of steam percolated coffee in the morning. Smells like… victory.

    4. Yeah, I’d say this time it’s okay.

  15. Is there one libertarian thought in this entire screed? Let Bailey go elsewhere to work for the establishment; we don’t need him at Reason.

    1. The establishment wont even hire him.

    2. That’s what I was looking for when I came here: at least one libertarian thought, or perhaps a modicum if independent reasoning.

      I thought (not even hoped) that this would be a sanctuary.

      I am saddened.

  16. Who cares who has COVID19? Even with sick people going to get teted only about 8% were testing positive for KungFlu. The other 92% have something else.

    People are going about their business here in Georgia and I suspect other states are or will follow by this weekend.

    1. You in Georgia are in for it, you’re going to have lots of dead people, I hope to god it helps increase the average intelligence of the population.

      1. Oh know. Well, it will clear out Atlanta because they live in close proximity.

        I guess Georgia will stay Red for many more decades.

        Plus, we get House seats from Blue states like California, thanks to Census 2020.

      2. They are in for no such thing.

  17. Great now the government will have everyone’s DNA on file.

    1. Not everyone’s DNA but most people’s medical records…and not just “the government” EVERY government

  18. If we want secure international travel we need a list of everyone who’s been tested!
    And we HAVE TO have that list, because what they won’t tell you is WE MAY NEVER get a vaccine

  19. “If we know who is infected, who is not and who has recovered, we could greatly relax social isolation requirements and send both the uninfected and the recovered back to work.”

    That presumes that people who had it and survived are immune, but are they? Do we know that? If so, fine, send them out with a tattoo on their forehead or whatever to identify them.

    As for testing, if it take two or three days then you simply don’t know if the test subject has it NOW. The turnaround time has to be very quick, like a matter of hours, for this to be meaningful.

  20. Seems highly likely giving Hydroxychloroquine and Azithromycin to severe patients for 6 days will render the severity of this virus at, or below, the flu. People are claiming the data from France and China is anecdotal because of the sample size. The fact is that the signal is so large that it would be very difficult to say the results are not conclusive (but should be verified and better estimated with a larger sample size). China is administering Chloroquine Phosphate as the standard treatment for cases going forward. This thing is about to be knocked down bigly….

    1. So, fish tank cleaner for everyone then?

      1. Yep. Just took my………a…..aaargh..

  21. Stop writing prescriptions for America, Ronald Bailey. You are not in charge.

  22. No need to test everyone. Because of false readings even with a 95% accurate kit, if you test a couple hundred million people you’re going to cause a lot of needless worry.

    The way to go is to use the same random sampling techniques used for political polling. This would almost certainly be more accurate because the response rate would be high. Start right away, and test continuously, and release results as soon as statistical significance is achieved.

    The reason to do it is to differentiate among regions and cities that are harder hit. We are now treating the whole country the same, when in fact this is a very dispersed, vast, and diverse country. Solutions for New York are not the same as solutions for Montana.

  23. While not nearly as bad of a proposal as the prevailing stimulus to save the economy nor Trump’s compounded idiocy proposal of stimulus then ignoring the problem come Easter, this proposal assumes much that we don’t know about C-19; and all three proposals risk trying to save an economy of buggy whip manufacturing. C-19 is likely going to both be persistent and presage other pandemics. If so, these proposals are all just government disrupting creative destruction that is both inescapable and necessary. The sharper and deeper the creative destruction the sooner we move from buggy whips to self-parking cars and to whatever will be best in a pandemic world.

    1. It’s an economy full of restaurants, hotels, airlines, and myriad other services. Not everyone is a Brave New Techno A-hole, even if you might be. LOL.

  24. Stop this nonsense about universal testing! Are you going to do 320 million tests on the same day? No! If universal testing is spread over 30 days with a crew of a million testers doing 10 million tests per day you would find that the first 10 million who tested negative were infected by the middle 10 million. Sp what? Re-test everyone everyday? JUST STAY HOME!

  25. Completely backwards suggestion. Mass testing is only useful as a method of containment. Containment became impossible as soon as the virus left Wuhan. Not to mention, you can have all the testing you want, but most of those tests are going to require a lab to process them, and that’s where the bottleneck is. And that bottleneck will cause people in the high-risk categories who may desperately need their test processed fast to get delayed longer than they should be because a bunch of people who would likely not suffer severe consequences felt like they needed reassurance.

    Not to mention that all a negative test is going to tell you is that you weren’t infected to a detectable level *at the time when the test was administered*. It doesn’t mean you can’t pick up the infection at the clinic where you got tested (where other sick people are going to be), on the way home from work because you stopped for gas, or back at work because one coworker got a false negative or wasn’t tested when they were sick,

    This article is the absolute worst in utopian thinking about how epidemics work, acting as if you can stamp out a widespread pandemic with a perfectly implemented testing regime that no libertarian should be stupid enough to believe that any government can pull off.

    1. The way to do this is through random sampling. Testing the entire population would be lunacy.

    2. You’re thinking about the wrong kind of test. We need to test for people who have already had it but gotten over it without knowing.

      1. We do not need that. It is too late for it anyway.

        1. If it turns out that 60% of the country has already had this before we knew what to look for, we’re gonna feel pretty dumb shotgunning our economy in the face for two months.

  26. Massive Coronavirus Testing Is the Way to Help Save the Economy

    Quite likely, though I make no claim to medical expertise. In any case, the following question looms large. What Took So Long???

  27. This is over in 3 weeks tops which is basically Easter as Trump says

    That is the shutdown. It’s unsustainable

    We’re going to have to live with the virus just like our ancestors did with a whole bunch of bad stuff around

    1. Exactly. Mutators gonna mutate, just like they have for millennia.

      COVID-19 is but a blip.

  28. I know a bit about the FDA. They are supported by users’ fees mostly, from corporate pharma interests, to fund clinical trials. The big dogs do not want to allow the little guy in, so they can keep the competition out. This is what is delaying widespread coronavirus testing. PCR assays are ridiculously simple-my 10 year old could do them. No excuse at all for this!

  29. Those who had recovered from infection (possibly numbering ten times more than those whose symptoms drive them to seek out medical care)

    If true, the mortality rate from COVID-19 is below a common flu. In that case, the current shutdown is absurd, and even widespread testing isn’t justified.

    It seems to me we should do enough testing to get clarity on the mortality rate, and if it’s comparable to the flu, we should stop wasting money on this.

    1. . . . and stop wasting time indoors.

    2. It seems to me we should do enough testing to get clarity on the mortality rate, and if it’s comparable to the flu, we should stop wasting money on this.
      ———-
      Sadly the officials are only interested in the scariest data, not the most useful data.

    1. Same as it ever was.

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  31. —-Wall Street Journal, “U.S. Hospitals Aren’t Ready for the Coronavirus”
    So we should hear more news and reality solutions..

  32. testing is too slow, it’s time to already know what we are dealing with!

  33. Stupid waste of money. Most people don’t even show symptoms. Just let it run its course and weed out the weak.

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