America is facing a coronavirus testing crisis, with potentially infectious people being turned away from hospitals on account of no tests being available. So why are some people getting tested and others aren’t?
Here’s a comparison for you. At the time of writing, South Korea has tested more than 270,000 people for coronavirus, administering swabs at testing facilities across the country. Italy has tested 134,000 people for coronavirus.
The US, on the other hand, has processed only 25,000 swabs, according to the New York Times. In fact, testing facilities in the US have been limited to around 7,000 specimens a day, halting the number of potential coronavirus tests that could be administered across the country.
This is a huge issue, especially considering that testing is widely regarded as one of the best preventative measures that we currently have in our arsenal to fight the spread of the disease. When we know how many people have coronavirus, we can monitor where they are and where the potential clusters of infection might be. We can flatten the curve.
The lack of testing currently happening in the US is a big issue, one that Chrissy Teigen recently called out. Teigen made her comments calling for more tests in response to a post from Ivanka Trump, who was encouraging social distancing by advocating for building a blanket fort in your lounge room and playing with your children there.
“After we quote pack unquote sandwiches can we please have Covid tests,” Teigen wrote on Twitter.
The tweet has since been liked by more than 35,000 people, many of whom agreed with Teigen that the lack of testing in the US was one of the biggest problems facing the country when it comes to coronavirus.
Over the past few days, several people have shared their own personal struggles to get tested for coronavirus, despite displaying symptoms of a high fever and/or dry cough. This is because of a current policy in most American states to only test “high risk” individuals.
Supermodel Heidi Klum revealed that she tried twice to get tested for coronavirus but was told that the test was not available to her. “I hope it’s just a cold,” she said. “I would love to do the corona test, but there just isn’t one here… I’ve tried with two different doctors and I just can’t get one.”
Still, many influencers and celebrities in the US have been able to get tested, while the rest of the population is told that coronavirus swabs are not available to them.
Among the number are several basketball players, Kris Jenner and the influencer Arielle Charnas of Something Navy, who documented the coronavirus test on her Instagram stories.
Charnas, it was revealed, received the test from a friend called Dr Jake Deutsch – she tagged him in the post – who runs an urgent care outpost on New York’s Upper West Side.
Testing in the US is complicated by the fact that without a universal healthcare system, getting swabbed for coronavirus could set an American back thousands of dollars.
That was the issue that Rep. Katie Porter pointed out in a video that went viral last week in which she questioned the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about making testing free for all Americans.
“Fear of these costs are going to keep people from being tested, from getting the care they need, and from keeping their communities safe,” she summed up.
The bottom line is really simple: we need more tests. We need more tests. We need more tests. And not just for celebrities, but for everyone.
Testing is one of the best tools we have to understand coronavirus, which means it’s one of the most powerful weapons to stop its spread.