The coming testing shortage(Yep, again)

Guidlines for reopening.

I am somewhat concerned. The universities and private sector have done a magnificent job in ramping up our ability to test for Coronavirus infections, largely by repurposing existing capacity.

That will provide sufficient testing capability for reopening the country IF the phased plan is followed. The idea is that as each state reaches the entry level for reopening, based on a downward trajectory in infection and hospitalization, the testing can be redirected there to support reopening, state by state.

However, 14 states will be ending their various restrictions within the next week, and NONE of them meet the standard of declining infections. That will very likely overwhelm the testing capacity.

The Federal government does not have the authority to overrule the governors on this.

23 thoughts on “The coming testing shortage(Yep, again)

  1. I guess those states’ citizens will be the guinea pigs for opening the economy. Involuntary, of course.

    I suspect that since the overwhelming majority of Americans are more concerned about ending lockdowns too early than not, perhaps business as usual will not be business as usual.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Part of the problem seems to be either reluctance by the administration to discuss testing in the phases or there is no way we have the testing capabilities to start opening the economy.

    Leaving it up to the Governors seems to be good on the surface. I suspect it is a matter of deflection should things turn sour. They’ll be damned if they do or don’t. I get the impression that the message from the feds is confusing.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The Constitution leaves it to the governors.

      The Federal government can offer guidance, and has, but the governors can ignore it.

      But the point is that the governors of at least 14 states have chosen to act contrary to that advice(Northam, to his credit, seems to be standing firm,) and that will likely crash the testing capability.


      1. Funny that the majority of the governors ignoring the guidelines from the WH are Republicans. Thinning the herd of voters, especially those that are having the hardest time with the virus that tend not to vote GOP?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. The messaging from the administration is super confusing. April 28 Trump assured us at the briefing that we will be at 5 million tests per day “very soon”.

        Of course “very soon” can mean a week, a month, a year. Since some governors are opening up states now, “very soon” has meaning.

        The very next day the same person said, when asked about the 5 million tests per day:

        “Right now, they’re testing about 200,000 per day. So that would be a significant increase,” the president told reporters in the Oval Office. “The answer may be in the timeline and ultimately that might be possible but not in the near term.”

        Really, folks, which is it, “very soon” or “not in the near term” and can governors rely on that information?

        I know exact number are not possible, but those statements are totally contradictory and very confusing.

        It seems like the best advice for Americans is to ignore the president. That can’t be good.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. The rapid increase in testing capacity came from military assets being made available to the public, and repurposing of existing equipment for coronavirus use.

          The multimillion dollar automated testing machines can’t be mass produced like hockey pucks, they require time to assemble and calibrate.

          So, the recent pace in increasing testing capacity cannot be maintained, no matter how much you’re willing to spend or who is in charge.

          If the governors overwhelm the system by opening too many states at the same time with too many tests needed, the waiting times will increase to the point testing becomes useless.


          1. The problem with this particular virus is that a person can be contagious for up to 10 days without symptoms.

            Add to that the high degree of contagiousness and we have a Gordian Knot.

            Sweden’s death rate is very high now. On a comparative level it would be the same as us closing in on 80,000. We have just passed 62,000. And for some reason they are not counting nursing home deaths.

            I think that experiment was a failure.

            Liked by 2 people

      3. “Northam, to his credit“ Think I’ll hold on to that one…

        Following guidelines does seem to be a major problem.

        I’d say exhibit A is the Vice President of the United States….

        Liked by 2 people

  3. RE: “That will very likely overwhelm the testing capacity.”

    Why do you think that testing capacity is “very likely” to be overwhelmed?

    As an example, based on VDH numbers I guesstimate that Virginia completed about 3,000 tests per day during the week ended April 19. Do you think that’s high or low compared to total testing capacity for the state?


    1. RE: “That will require a lot of testing in each state.”

      I think I see what you mean: the contact tracing will drive testing demand higher.

      I have an ideological bias against “too much” contact tracing, although a) I can’t define “too much” and b) I recognize that contact tracing is both medically valid and scientifically necessary.

      I’ve seen R0 estimates for SARS-COV-2 as low as 1.2 and as high as 5.7. What do you think the real R0 might be, and would it justify heavy-handed surveillance (or “sentinal”) testing of the population?


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