COVID-19 testing as much of the population as possible immediately is the only defense to stop the spread of the coronavirus. It is imperative to find out how many people are infected to gain knowledge and implement necessary measures to eliminate to the best of our ability contamination due to human to human transmission.
The populace must continuously have periodic COVID-19 testing to create quarantines and enforce social isolation. This will eliminate, to the best abilities, contamination due to social interactions. Without sufficient numbers of test kits, the best must be done to test based on using risk assessment measures.
COVID-19 Testing to Gain Knowledge
Testing will allow experts to gain vital knowledge on the behavioral pattern of the virus — its dynamic and rate of transmission. This will enable obtaining a necessary understanding of the scope and intensity of the spread of COVID-19 over time and demographics. COVID-19 testing of all will allow for measuring the effectiveness of the implementation of the different control measures to mitigate this coronavirus.
The primary dependent variables to quantify empirically by testing is the rate of the intensity of the outbreak of COVID-19. The term R0 “R naught” refers to the reproduction number, or the intensity, of an infectious disease. This translates to the rate in which one person infected with COVID-19 can affect others, or how many individuals will be infected by an infected person. The reproduction number is the measure of the rate of reproduction in a given population.
An outbreak is apparent and, thus, will grow when R0 is >1. In contrast, R0 is <1 the outbreak will be expected to end. The apparent goal is to bring down the R0 to <1 in the shortest period. Therefore, COVID-19 testing, quarantines, social distancing, and travel restrictions are imperative to stop the spread of the virus.
With this novel coronavirus, there are many gray areas — such as infectious period, and the number of asymptomatic cases that cause the virus to spread. To take into consideration as well are susceptibility factors that can also affect the changing variation of the spread of the virus. People that exhibit varying health conditions have been shown to be more vulnerable to the disease — such as those with diabetes, heart conditions, lung issues, and who are immunosuppressed.
COVOD-19 Testing to Implement Safety Practices
According to The Imperial College group, the R0 of this virus is approximately between 1.5 and 3.5. The number is calculated through highly complex mathematical models. This is a valuable concept in the hands of professionals — including the context to estimate the proportion of the population that need vaccination once one has been developed.
Other factors that influence the rate of growth is the geographical distance and density of the population. Since COVID-19 testing is not being done on the general population the infected asymptomatic population are virus carriers who then can infect others. The majority of people who are infected by the virus recover giving hope to having a higher probability of creating immunity against COVID-19 if exposed again.
To monitor the rapid curve over time and reduce the exponential factor it is vital to work to flatten the curve. To do this it is necessary to find out the actual effect of social isolation, travel restrictions, and quarantines.
Therefore, COVID-19 testing must be conducted on the population over time. This will work to gain knowledge on how the implemented methodologies affect targeted communities once ad hoc data is compared.
According to The Lancet “Infectious Diseases,” the Reproduction number of the COVID-19 was estimated to of dropped down from 2:35 to 1:05 in Wuhan due to travel control measures. The incubation time of the virus is estimated to be 5.1 days as per Annals of Internal Medicine.
COVID-19 testing will allow to map the behavioral pattern of the infection over time and demographics. Results reported by Annals of Internal Medicine show that 97.5% of the infected people will develop symptoms within 11.5 days.
COVID-19 Testing to Control Virus
Stated by Medical News Today is how asymptomatic people are creating a silent transmission of the virus unknowingly transmitting approximately 10-percent of the infections. Without testing, it makes asymptomatic transmission very difficult to measure.
It is important in efforts to identify and isolate the COVID-19 infected cases to look at the serial interval. This is the time between successive cases or between one person developing the symptom of a condition and a second becoming infected and developing symptoms.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has concluded that the serial interval of COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, is approximately four days. The shorter the serial interval number, the harder it is to control the epidemic. This indicator aids in enabling more time to isolate cases.
Aggressive measures must be taken to curb the emerging threat — facilitating enough time to respond sufficiently to evolving situations. It is vital to follow all the necessary steps possible not to overwhelm and paralyze the health care system.
COVID-19 testing and other preventive measures will aid in providing the time needed to acquire new emerging drugs to treat the disease. This is also vital in the efforts of finding new vaccines that can take up to as much as one year to create.
In addition, valuable time is required to build new added infrastructure of additional hospitals and health care facilities to fight in putting an end to COVID-19. Also required is a health care system fully equipped with necessary and vital equipment needed to create essential means to help the infected population.
Speaking from a Social Science Background
Omid Shahnaz has a background in social sciences. In researching COVID-19 he is speaking up to do his due diligence to guide the public in working together to help end this pandemic. Shahnaz discusses a rational way of tackling the problem of cornering the virus — by understanding its behavioral pattern through scientific means, gaining knowledge about the illness, and measurements over time:
“By testing the population periodically, we can implement much more aggressive measures through social isolation, strict travel restrictions, quarantines, etc. in isolating the healthy people from the asymptomatic cases, symptomatic cases, and critically infected cases. In this calculation, we must also take into account the susceptible population that has a higher risk of getting critically sick.
“How do we identify the demographic, isolate, and provide the necessary and sufficient care during the R0>1 epidemic? We need to quantify risk assessment for decision-making purposes to find out how the stratified groups are distributed and composed concerning the risk of transmission of the virus and periods of incubations necessary in different designated areas to prevent human to human transmission.
“A strict contingency plan will increase the likelihood of securing and protecting sufficient means and functionality of society. The command and control ought to be in the hands of a joint task force of army, national guard, and other emergency units in collaboration with federal, state, and city authorities during the state of national emergency and until the rate of infection is R0<1.
“We can’t merely solve new challenges and problems of this magnitude and complexity with only existing infrastructures, material capacities, solutions, and old social structures not created for combating the emergence of such a phenomenon. We must therefore rethink, accommodate to the changing reality, the answers to meet the demands and the complexity of the new challenges. Not through merely our belief system as such, but rather to have faith in our ability to solve the problems at hand with recourse to rationality, our scientific know-how, and collaboration.
“Any deviation in our lack of ability to correctly, adequately and scientifically understand and act in our combat against this invisible enemy would result in a much more severe scenario that would seriously jeopardize our ability to contain and minimize the spread of COVID-19 and consequently saving countless precious lives.”
During this time, the level of preparedness and response time in all fields must be increased. This includes creating new medicines and vaccines, as well as reinforcing the infrastructure — especially the healthcare system. To take care of the needs of the infected population and the probable second wave, and any additional waves, of viral infection or viral mutation in the future.
COVID-19 testing is the first defense to accomplishing an end to this pandemic. Only when each individual recovers, show no signs of infection and tests negative will the world be able to begin returning to any normalcy.
Thank you to Omid Shahnaz for providing his research, text, and insight to make this article possible
Originally published at https://nynj.com on March 25, 2020.
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