Virus Testing Mayhem

COVID-19 DC Politics Health Care

Marble Falls      This is not a laughing matter, but testing for Covid-19 is becoming ludicrous.  With Omicron surging and jumping on the back of Delta, Americans and the rest of the world are scratching their heads again about the virus and not sure which way is up, down, or around.  Many aren’t sure where they can go safely, other than digging a hole in the ground, but given climate change, they could drown soon.  Others are simply throwing up their hands, pretending it’s all good, and hoping for the best.

            In the Ozarks, where I am now, the latter is the go-to strategy, if you call total avoidance of reality a strategy.  It’s pretty much no mas, no masks in the mountains.  From time to time, you see a random service worker with a mask, but not often.  Same for the Dollar General, Walmart, Home Depot, and other big and small box operations.

            Talking to experts, they tell me that just about everybody is going to get the Omicron variant.  Ok, I’m exaggerating to make a point.  One really did tell me that 50% of those vaccinated will get it, if the mathematical models of the current surge continue towards their likely peak.  You may not know you have it.  You may think it’s the flu, and wait a minute, on that point, with masks off, flu rates are once again rising in this perfect pandemic storm of ours.

            How would you know?  Well, get tested, but there’s a problem with that answer as it turns out.

            President Biden, bless his heart, said he was ordering about a half-billion tests, and that the feds “got this.”  States gave a sigh of relief, seeing their burden eased, but, once again, reality struck.  Ordering a half-billion tests is not the same thing as having them at the ready now that we need them, so in fact states are also swamped, even as reported tests in a recent week hit more than 700 million, about two tests for every heavy breathing American.  Home tests are flying off the shelves, and, for the most part, they aren’t even counted in those totals.

            Not that it matters, because few institutions accept the tests.  Many experts argue still, two years into this mess, about the value of the PCR versus antigen tests, and almost all of them have become skeptical of both operator error and the accuracy of the home tests, if you can get your hands on them.  At our house we had some that were recalled because they were giving false positives.  On the other hand, I talked to someone yesterday, who had a negative result on a PCR test, but a handful of docs told her that she absolutely had Covid based on her symptoms.

            The CDC has shorted the isolation period to five days.  Public health experts are now doubting whether it makes sense to record the daily case counts.

            Who you gonna call, friend?  Ghostbusters?  You get the feeling there’s public health anarchy and, once again, we’re on our own.