This Is Why #MassTestingNow Is So Important
We are down to the last 14 days of the Enhanced Community Quarantine but the number of cases just been piling up. Does that mean we need to extend this quarantine? Most likely, the answer is yet. But one solution to address this health crisis and expediting the length of having to work from home is mass testing! Of course, this goes hand in hand with staying home! So, why is this so important in solving the on-going pandemic and impeding the economic crisis? Here’s why:
Photo from PhilStar
The one-month ECQ is buying the nation time to detect and isolate the positive cases. Once this is done, we reduce the transmission of the virus after said quarantine. Mass testing will of course speed up the process of detecting those who are positive and those who aren’t. So step one is done. They then determine if your symptoms are mild enough for you to do a self-quarantine or severe enough to be admitted to the hospital. This way, we don’t crowd out the hospitals as well, there will be more space to those who truly need it.
Photo from CNN Philippines
You can trace who the positive patients were with for the past two weeks since testing positive. Those people are now either persons under monitoring or investigation – depending on if they’re showing symptoms or not. If we had enough test kits, as we should, we could already eliminate who from that circle has it or not without having to wait for symptoms to show. This will also decrease the chances of transmitting the virus to someone else. And then they can properly isolate and flatten that curve!
Finding Asymptomatic Patients
Photo from CNN Philippines
What is scary and tricky with this virus is that some people are asymptomatic. They don’t feel the common symptoms hence thinking they are okay all this time but little did they know they are already spreading the virus to other people. Mass testing people will bring light to those who are asymptomatic and can immediately seek medical care.
Stop the Spread
Photo from Rappler
With early detection and contact tracing, we can then isolate those who have it from those who don’t. If they are properly quarantined and seeking medical treatment, we can gradually lift the quarantine but still keep high-risk individuals safe at home. But now that we haven’t done this It has been announced that mass testing will be conducted on April 14 for high-risk patients such as PUI/PUM’s, healthworkers, pregnant women, etc. But it is still risky to lift the ECQ, because of all the undetected cases there. Yes, the numbers are piling up, which is a sign that more people were tested – which is great! But with those numbers piling up, who knows who has been infected during the time they weren’t tested?
And this is why Mass Testing is very important right now. It won’t cure the virus, but it will stop the spread. South Korea and Singapore are some of the countries who have done this and it can really be a reality for us. But of course, with mass testing there are a lot of complementary strategies to go with it like contact tracing and communicative efforts on where and how to get tested. The state is also working on building make-shift facilities to cater to the growing number of patients but with this let’s not forget that it is also very important to keep our frontliners health a priority. So as we wait for this to happen, let’s stay home, flatten the curve, and donate what you can. Stay safe everyone!