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COVID-19: Pooled Testing Won't Work Everywhere

We waited too long and the virus is out of control.

Pooled testing of COVID-19 test samples is one way to conserve testing supplies such as reagents. It might have worked earlier in the pandemic, but now in areas with widespread infections of over 25 percent, it doesn't save any time, since you have to go back and test every individual to find the infected person. 

There are some places, like nursing homes where there are no known infections, but they are doing regular testing might still be a place to use the pooled testing concept. See this Politico article, Trump’s health officials are trying to speed up testing. Here’s why their plan won’t work.

The testing fiasco continues ...

Earlier today I was on a conference call where I was talking about prioritizing the anticipated coronavirus vaccine when it becomes available. Someone on the call offered that testing could help, but I declined to bite on that idea. The whole testing process has been so problematic, I say, "Run away, run away!"

Eric Holdeman is a contributing writer for Emergency Management magazine and is the former director of the King County, Wash., Office of Emergency Management.
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