COVID-19 Testing | Beaufort County Now | John Cochran — “The Grumpy Economist” — has been arguing for a long time that “cheap, fast, tests can stop this pandemic quickly, even if they are not very accurate.” | john locke foundation, coronavirus, covid-19, testing, FDA, rapid test system, september 4, 2020

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

COVID-19 Testing

Publisher's Note: This post appears here courtesy of the John Locke Foundation. The author of this post is Jon Guze.

    John Cochran — "The Grumpy Economist" — has been arguing for a long time that "cheap, fast, tests can stop this pandemic quickly, even if they are not very accurate." In a recent blog post, he happily reports that the FDA has approved Abbott Labs' new rapid test system:

  • Abbott gets it — the point of this test is not to diagnose sick people, it is to keep most sick people from spreading the disease. If every American got this test once a week for a month ($5 x $350 million = $7 billion = one drop in bucket of the fiscal and economic cost of this pandemic) it would be over in a month.

    Far from being happy, however, Cochran is downright grumpy about the fact that FDA is only allowing the test to be used "by health care professionals [in] point-of-care settings that are qualified to have the test performed and are operating under a CLIA (Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments) Certificate of Waiver, Certificate of Compliance, or Certificate of Accreditation." He says:

  • What is wrong with these people? (FDA) If most of us call our health care providers, you get non-urgent appointment in about 3 weeks, insurance gets billed about $400, we pay $150, to get the necessary referral, and prescription (!) and on for more delays and costs to get the test.
  • What possible reason is there for all these restrictions? How can anybody be hurt by taking this test, and how will all these layers of bureaucracy help that anyway? Yes, a huge employer like Stanford can probably obtain a CLIA CoW, CoC, etc. and hire a "occupational health specialist" to administer tests, but how is a restaurant going to do it?
  • There is a pandemic on, folks. Regulators gotta regulate, I guess, to justify their existence. But not now.


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