To better reduce COVID transmission the US must learn from Europe. Americans need cheap or free home COVID antigen testing kits. They give a result in 15 minutes and typically identify 98 percent of infectious cases, according to medical experts. Getting many millions of home tests to Americans is the most important action the government can do.
Have worrisome symptoms or contact with someone who has tested positive? You can quickly and reliably discover whether you have a COVID infection. Vaccinated or not, you can take actions to curb viral transmission to others or, if appropriate, seek medical help. Home tests address COVID surges and concerns about new variants by helping people with mild symptoms and a positive test use telemedicine to get advice and avoid overwhelmed hospitals.
Frequent home tests can give you a normal life. They should be as handy as a thermometer. Reduce the ordeal of getting a lab test scheduled and waiting days for the result. Easy test access fits with medical freedom and personalized medicine principles. Curtailing virus transmission beats disruptive actions by government, including quarantines, lockdowns, school closings and use of vaccine credentials.
Europe doing better
Europe's smarter approach has resulted in 39 rapid self-administered antigen tests being authorized by the European Union and over 100 in all of Europe. The US has authorized just 12 and only nine of which are available without a prescription. No prescription should be needed.
In Britain, people can get free rapid tests delivered to their homes on demand. Pharmacies offer free packs of seven tests that people can take at home.
The U.K. allocated $50 billion over two years to set up a national test and trace program that delivers rapid tests to anyone upon request. It hasn't worked perfectly but the US is far behind.
Ideally, home test results should qualify people to engage in activities where onerous vaccine mandates or lab PCR tests are being used. Tests that provide some documentation of a negative result are needed.
The government has spent many billions of dollars on vaccines and now new pills from Merck and Pfizer. They have spent too little on home testing. Why?
Regular PCR tests give the government data on positive cases. These maintain fear and acceptance of COVID vaccines, despite known high levels of false positive results.
Both the Trump and Biden administrations bet everything on vaccines ending the pandemic. Wrong gamble. Time to give power to American households by getting tests into home medicine cabinets.
Fauci has not used his considerable power to get FDA and CDC to approve many home tests and getting free ones to US households.
Consensus comments by medical experts
Contrasting vaccines and home testing, "It feels like in one place we're in a rocket ship and in another place we're on training wheels," said Rep. Kim Schrier, D-Wash., who is a former pediatrician. He has pushed the FDA to authorize more tests.
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