Why testing is still a problem for the US.


A detailed article about why we still can’t test effectively. Hint: it’s not all Trump’s fault.

True, testing has ramped up, but the backlog for results is making it almost ineffective.

Blame can be directed everywhere, but the bottom line is that our healthcare industry is just too slow and fragmented to handle a crisis like this. And our hyper partisan political atmosphere isn’t helping one bit. Both sides, of course. But only one side is in charge.


20 thoughts on “Why testing is still a problem for the US.

  1. RE: “Blame can be directed everywhere, but the bottom line is that our healthcare industry is just too slow and fragmented to handle a crisis like this.”

    The Atlantic piece doesn’t really support that conclusion in my view.

    The first phase of any large, complex, high-pressure project always is the herding cats phase. It doesn’t matter how competent or experienced your people are. The herding cats period is unavoidable and you just have to live through it.

    The article doesn’t address this reality, one that is so well known that it has its own name (herding cats). Instead the article describes the problems it reports as though they were caused by incompetence or immorality. They may have been, to some extent, but that, too, is part of the herding cats phase.

    In any case, I wouldn’t generalize from Quest’s performance to all of our healthcare industry, and I certainly wouldn’t extrapolate from this one report that we need to nationalize our healthcare system to better handle pandemics in the future, if that’s what the writers hope to suggest.


    1. Nationalize? I don’t think that was suggested.

      Coordination, preparation and efficiency are what we lack.

      If we were invaded by Canada, herding cats would not be an acceptable excuse. Nor should a viral invasion which is far more dangerous.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Let’s not forget that the private labs have gone from being forbidden to test by the FDA to providing nearly all the existing testing in about a month.

    What we should be looking at is what could have been done had they not been barred from participation in the first place.


    1. Sure, let’s look at what the effect would have been had the testing issue been addressed around the time of our first partial travel restrictions February 2. Or the closed door Congressional hearings January 25th.

      That is a full 2 months ago.

      The barring would have been seen as an issue since the administration knew it was a pandemic.

      Or so we just found out.

      Or to put into perspective with a military invasion:

      The Canadian military was just starting some cross border incursions that the regime knew about. Let us wait 2 months for the scouting reports.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Missing the point.

        Had the private sector been free to market testing for all sorts of diseases and conditions without meddling by the FDA and CDC, they would have had the manufacturing resources at hand and the personnel in place to ramp up for this one rapidly.

        It is FDA and CDC control of the marketplace that left the private sector to ramp up from scratch without a stockpile of feedstock to work with.


        1. Maybe. Your assuming that the private sector would anticipate a pandemic before anyone else. Otherwise, there would be no reason to spend millions in advance.

          Similar problem as with PPE’s. Who is going to stockpile billions of masks with the possibility of future use?

          A big problem now is not just the kits, it is the personnel needed to run the samples at the lab. Would all theses people have been trained and in place and at whose expense?

          One of the problems now arising are the scam tests and scam treatments. Somehow that needs to be addressed and up until now, FDA or CDC approval was the gateway.

          I might agree that better positioning of labs earlier would have been prudent.


          1. One of the labs that is out front on the quest for a vaccine was already working i a vaccine for a similar virus, in chickens, where the CDC doesn’t get in their way. They have rapid gene sequencing methods that allowed them to pivot and resequence for COVID-19.

            But keep in mind that there are dozens of such entrepreneurs out there with flexible capabilities looking for new ways to do things that we don’t yet know we need.

            Even if the government labs are better funded, there will always be someone out there one step ahead. Not always the same someone, but one of them.

            Stockpiling can be done one of two ways, either the government stockpiles for emergencies or you let speculators do it and let them price gouge when they turn out to be right.


          2. Vaccines have slowly fallen out of favor for Big Pharma. Simple reason is that drugs for chronic diseases are much more lucrative.

            Maybe this pandemic will change that.

            Liked by 1 person

          3. Veternary vaccines are not out of favor and are very lucrative and effective.

            Guess what’s different.

            When you figure it out, you’ll understand why the motive you assign to Big Pharma is unjust.


          4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4043076/

            What I found were regulatory differences between vet and human vaccines. But in this paper one of the differences is obvious. Vets are concerned with herd health. A chicken is worth a couple of bucks.

            Human health effects are considered much more valuable individually.

            If you have an outbreak in the poultry industry, you kill a few 100 million chickens, tweak the drugs and a few months later you’re back in business.

            The motive for a Big Pharma is not unjust. It is the market. You develop and sell to make money. If we want more vaccines rather than Viagra, someone has to buy them and guarantee profits.

            Guess who?

            Liked by 1 person

          5. Vaccines are for acute, infectious diseases, not chronic conditions.

            The process by which vaccines are developed has changed radically in the last decade, but the regulatory process to get one to market remains the same.


          6. “ Vaccines are for acute, infectious diseases, not chronic conditions.”

            Yes, of course, which is why they are not profitable.

            Liked by 1 person

          7. They can be profitable, when the FDA isn’t in the way.

            And the FDA serves no purpose their product liability insurers cannot do better.

            In the current situation, the first workable vaccine on the market will make a fortune, the second place not so much, which is a positive incentive in the market. But the FDA will delay number one until number two is ready as well.


          8. Product liability companies may do a decent job of approval.

            What I am skeptical of are those instances of future recalls by the FDA of either adverse reactions or discovering falsified testing. Several of which have happened over the years.

            Will the insurer be anxious to pay out billions or will they hide the problem?

            I think we know what corporate America might very well do based on past experiences.


    2. RE: “What we should be looking at is what could have been done had they not been barred from participation in the first place.”

      There is definitely a lesson to be learned there.

      I remain concerned that the CDC/FDA persist in playing gatekeeper, promoting themselves as the single point of knowledge and decision making. For example, the hydroxychloroquine drama played on in the media for three weeks until finally — and non-essentially — the FDA approved the drug as a treatment option for Covid-19.

      It’s not too much of a stretch to suggest that a market-based, decentralized approach to the hydroxychloroquine question might have been more responsive.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “ One of the first cited by federal officials was “The Jim Bakker Show,” a television program hosted by the famed televangelist, to whom federal authorities issued a warning on March 6 about his claims about something called “Silver Sol Liquid.”
        The show was advising people to put the liquid in a nebulizer and inhale it because “it can kill any of these known viruses,” according to the government filing.
        But that was just the beginning. Here’s just a sampling of the written pitches that have been cited by federal authorities since then:
        A nasal spray known as Corona-Cure “contains an antiseptic that will kill the virus on contact before it is able to enter your body.”


        I think we need a gatekeeper. There are enough desperate people who will fall for scams, the go out to infect others.

        Already the supplies hydroxychloroquine for those that need it for lupus and crippling arthritis are concerned since the FDA approval was for testing and limited uses on volunteers. It may be that this drug does work, but without trials the evidence is anecdotal.

        But at least it might be more effective than “Corona-Cure”.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. RE: “I think we need a gatekeeper. There are enough desperate people who will fall for scams, the go out to infect others.”

        I have little patience for such thinking. It is the same fallacious argument as suggesting that we need a dictator so the trains will run on time. For the good of society.

        That is to say, it fails to distinguish between a single perceived benefit and the larger set of consequences.


        1. I suppose the ones who buy the scam “medicines” are the smaller set of consequences.

          It might be that the FDA and others could be streamlined a bit. But for most of us, it is at least a buffer against cures that are total BS and might kill.

          But, to each his own.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. NPR just interview a lawyer who bought a $49 home Coronavirus testing kit. He suspected he had been had, but was desperate to visit his mother.

          Turned out it was a scam.

          I think I have patience to avoid that kind of stuff.

          Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s