Testing: More Important Than Ever

As vaccination programs race to get ahead of more contagious new coronavirus variants, will rapid tests be a linchpin of success?
The Biden administration is aiming to roll out 61 million rapid tests by summer’s end, NPR reports.
But some public health experts say that’s insufficient because the country needs to perform tens of millions of tests every day. They want the FDA to approve more inexpensive rapid tests to allow people to test themselves regularly.

Critics also say Biden’s rapid test plan is too expensive and will need to be subsidized in order to be effective and fair, STAT reports.

Some Washington state schools are already piloting voluntary rapid testing as an early warning sign for school outbreaks, The Seattle Times reports.

Flawed, But Helpful: People need to know the limits of rapid tests, Nature reports. They aren’t as accurate as PCR lab tests, but their ability to detect high viral load is pretty good at identifying the most infectious people and estimating the presence of the virus across whole communities. But they can't reliably confirm an individual is not infected.  

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