Dr. Richard Bennek's Aug. 2 letter, "COVID testing not good enough for schools to reopen
," had it exactly right: We do not have sufficient COVID-19
testing to open schools safely....-good-enough-for-schools-to-reopen/article_c6c1de40-d4bf-11ea-93b5-23aff74b7e29.html">COVID testing not good enough for schools to reopen COVID-19
What is frustrating is that the technology for rapid-result, paper-based antigen testing already exists. While those tests are not nearly as accurate as our gold standard PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests, they are very accurate at detecting viruses in the range of load at which people are likely to infect others.
These tests have the added advantage of giving fast results, usually in about 15 minutes. Since anyone who is capable of spitting on a piece of paper can take such a test, no specialized personnel or equipment are required. They can be manufactured quickly, and, very importantly in our battered economy, they are inexpensive, about $1 to $2.
Students, teachers and other school staff could be tested daily before entering the building. Not only would school reopening be vastly safer, imagine how useful these tests could be at airports. They could help New York protect its hard-won safety by testing all arrivals from COVID hot spots. For that matter, every airplane passenger could be tested before getting on a plane. If the tests were cheap enough and fast enough, we could reopen sports stadiums, concert halls and theaters. Heck, even restaurants, bars, and churches could screen incoming patrons.
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