A New Testing Regime

The problem with our current testing regime is that it is too narrow, focusing on catching symptomatic spreaders where and when they appear. This means that instead of getting ahead of the virus, we end up playing whack a mole and missing key opportunities to truly suppress. I therefore present 4 points. 1. The Scottish Government should invest in expanding our current testing capacity, invest in tests that provide results quicker and hire more contact tracers. 2. Test and Protect should ask everyone who is contact traced to get tested, even if they have no symptoms. 3. There should be a regime of mass testing at events and institutions that could become super spreaders (e.g. University Campuses, Sports Events, Live Theater ). 4. The Government should regularly select a representative group of individuals to get tested.

Why the contribution is important

I believe the logical behind these 4 points is clear, however I will elaborate on each point in turn 1. By expanding our testing regime the Government can ensure that it is a) able to implement my 3 other points, and b) in a position to bring large outbreaks under control quicker 2. Under the current system, if someone has been infected by an individual and is then contact traced due to their close contact with said individual but is not showing symptoms, they only need to isolate, but are not supposed to get tested. This is problematic, as it means this person’s contacts cannot be contact traced, and if they have been infectious for a few days, they may have spread the virus before they were contact traced. If my proposal is implemented, you can effectively work down the chain of contacts from the first infection, preventing the virus from spreading beyond the initial contacts of the first infection. This proposal does require a greater emphasis on the message that even if you get a negative test you must still isolate for 14 days. 3. This would allow people to not only engage in the activities in these settings, but would ensure that infections that might arise here do not spread further into the wider community. 4. By ensuring this group is a) properly representative of Scottish people in terms of age, race, class, gender, education, geography, etc, and b) large enough to give an accurate picture of the current situation, then the Scottish Government can get a much more accurate picture of where the epidemic is in Scotland right now, which groups and locations the virus could be spreading through, rather than waiting for that spread to appear in the regular test results, and can therefore make more targeted and informed policy decisions. Fundamentally, these ideas would allow the Scottish Government to better control the spread of the virus and would give regular people a greater ability to go about their lives as normal. Since these steps would ensure that the risk of wider community spread is minimised to the greatest extent it can be, people can make decisions on the basis of their own personal risk, how comfortable they feel with their chance of catching COVID-19, rather than the risk they might pose to wider society, as the testing regime would prevent in most circumstances the virus spreading beyond a small group of people in each outbreak.

by duffyc61 on October 11, 2020 at 04:54PM

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