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Tuesday, June 22, 2021

COVID tests drop, but the US may be exposed

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Kamal Saini
Kamal S. has been Journalist and Writer for Business, Hardware and Gadgets at Revyuh.com since 2018. He deals with B2b, Funding, Blockchain, Law, IT security, privacy, surveillance, digital self-defense and network policy. As part of his studies of political science, sociology and law, he researched the impact of technology on human coexistence. Email: kamal (at) revyuh (dot) com

Demand for coronavirus screening is plummeting in U.S. communities. The decline comes at an important time in the pandemic: experts are cautiously optimistic that the rate of COVID-19 contagion is receding after killing more than half a million Americans.

However, they are concerned that emerging variants may prolong the health crisis.

“Everyone is hoping for a quick and widespread vaccination, but I don’t think we’re at a point where we can let our guard down yet,” said Dr. Clemens Hong, who is leading the Los Angeles County testing operation. “We just don’t have enough immune people to rule out another surge.”

Testing in the United States peaked on January 15. Since then, the average number of daily tests has decreased by more than 28%. The drop reflects declines in all major measures of the virus’s advancement since January, such as numbers of new cases, hospitalizations and deaths.

Other reasons for this fall are adverse winter conditions, which forced people to stay at home; the end of the year-end travel season; pandemic fatigue, and increased attention to vaccination.

“When you combine them all, you see this decline,” said Dr. Richard Pescatore of the Delaware Department of Health, where daily tests have fallen more than 40% since the January peak. “People just don’t go to test sites.”

But tests remain important resources for tracking and containing the outbreak.

Los Angeles County is opening up more testing options near public transportation, schools, and offices to make it easier for people to take them. Santa Clara County officials are urging residents to “continue to get tested regularly,” highlighting new mobile test buses and emerging sites.

Some specialists warn that the United States must double the tests to prevent outbreaks of variants of the coronavirus that have taken hold in the United Kingdom, South Africa and elsewhere.

“We need to use the evidence to continue the downward trend,” said Dr. Jonathan Quick of the Rockefeller Foundation, who has been advising President Joe Biden’s officials. “We need to have them there to detect sudden increases in variants.”

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