M ichael Mina is a professor of epidemiology at Harvard, where he studies the diagnostic testing of infectious diseases. He has watched, with disgust and disbelief, as the United States has struggled for months to obtain enough tests to fight the coronavirus. In January, he assured a newspaper reporter that he had "absolute faith" in the ability of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to contain the virus. By early March, that conviction was in crisis. "The incompetence has really exceeded what anyone would expect," he told The New York Times . His astonishment has only intensified since. Many Americans may understand that testing has failed in this country—that it has been inadequate, in one form or another, since February. What they may not understand is that it is failing , now. In each of the past two weeks, and for the first time since the pandemic began, the country performed fewer COVID-19 tests than it did in the week prior. The system is deteriorating. Testing is a non-optional problem. Tests permit us to do the most basic task in disease control: Identify the sick, and separate them from the well. When tests are abundant, they can dispel the… Read full this story
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