American celebrities, politicians and professional athletes this week angered many by revealing they were tested for Covid-19 without symptoms.
This is fueling the belief that the rich and powerful people in the United States have a privileged, “top priority” status for Covid-19 testing in the context of a nation lacking testing capacity. necessary.
The disease is spreading rapidly in the United States and by the end of March 21, there were 23,649 confirmed cases across the states, with 302 deaths.
The poor American people find it difficult to test
Many Americans say they have difficulty getting tested, are rejected because there are no obvious symptoms, or it takes a long time to be tested. And the fact that celebrities are easily tested has raised concerns about inequalities in the US healthcare system, when people with financial ability will receive a different level of service. .
When asked about the issue on March 18, President Donald Trump said that rich and affluent people should not be given priority for the Covid-19 test, but Trump – a rich and connected person. wide – acknowledging that celebrities sometimes receive perks.
“Perhaps life is always the case. That happens sometimes. And I also noticed that some people get tested pretty quickly,” Mr. Trump said.
On Monday, the Brooklyn Nets basketball team said all members of the team were tested on Covid-19 last week, returning from San Francisco after the match with the Golden State Warriors. The Brooklyn Nets found a private laboratory that could do this, and announced that four members of the team, including All-Star star Kevin Durant, were positive for the corona virus.
Although no public resources were used in this case, it still led many to question the US health system, including New York Mayor Bill de Blasio.
“We wish them a speedy recovery. But, with all due respect, an entire NBA team should not be tested for Covid-19 while there are critical patients awaiting testing. The test should not be reserved. for the rich, but for the sick, “Mr. de Blasio wrote on Twitter.
Mr. de Blasio is a Democrat and supports Senator Bernie Sanders’ health reform plans.
Robin Fraser, a 30-year-old woman with fibromyalgia and autoimmune disorders, puts her at a higher risk for complications from coronary infection. Fever and cough from last week, and was advised by a doctor but upon arrival she was told that there were not enough test kits available at the moment, so she could not be checked for virus infection.
“That’s not fair,” said Fraser.
Online, Fraser saw celebrities and politicians tested, and she was saddened by that.
“Why are they being surrendered? People like me, normal people, are pushed to the back of the line. Why are parliament members being tested and we can’t?” Fraser said.
US testing capacity is growing, but not fast enough
Public anger over access to testing has begun to form since the US first reported Covid-19 infection on January 20. The first batch of test kits developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) failed to make the initial testing capacity in the US significantly limited.
In addition, the government has set strict criteria for testing, requiring patients to have enough symptoms, a history of traveling to an epidemic area, making it difficult for many people to get tested for the virus. . Even until a sample of respiratory fluid is collected, the tester still has to wait a long time for results in the context of laboratories being overloaded.
To remove this bottleneck, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it will allow a number of large private laboratories to develop the Covid-19 test kit, and ease previous strict regulations. on when it’s time to bring the test kits to market. (The FDA is notoriously strict in product testing and quality control requirements).
Over the past 2 weeks, this untie has led to an increase in testing capacity, but in private laboratories. These facilities are also not bound by the criteria set by CDC to test patients, and anyone can test if they pay enough money.
LabCorp is a major privately owned testing company in the United States, who started providing Covid-19 testing services on March 5. Quest Diagnostics, another large company, started doing this on March 9.
LabCorp said it will be able to perform 10,000 tests of Covid-19 every day, by the end of this week and double the capacity, to 20,000 tests per day, by the end of the month.
By comparison, the CDC and US government laboratories have only performed a total of 30,000 tests within the eight weeks since Covid-19 began appearing in the United States, according to University researchers. learning Johns Hopkins.
During this time, instead of advising people to get tested for Covid-19, US officials asked patients to stay home if they had symptoms, and only tested when they found it hard to breathe, according to the New York Times.
Epidemiological testing – the process of screening and identifying people who come into contact with a patient, then testing and quarantining them – is the only way to completely break the chain of infection, according to Dr. Adhanom Ghebreyesus Tedros, WHO Director General. If this is not done, the virus will re-emerge as soon as social isolation requirements are relaxed.