While I’m on the subject, you might want to take a look at this post at Axios by Caitlin Owens which touches on some points I’ve made here from time to time:
The big picture: Rapid antigen tests are cheaper and get results much faster than polymerase chain reaction tests, which have been the standard in the U.S. for most of the pandemic so far.
- The downside is that they’re less accurate. That means a certain proportion of people who receive these tests will be told they don’t have the virus when they do, or vice versa. (One of the rapid Abbott tests isn’t an antigen test, but it has similar tradeoffs to antigen tests, at least among asymptomatic people.)
- Antigen testing is becoming more widespread in the U.S., but there’s no federal strategy for how it should be used. And more than 20 states either don’t release or have incomplete data on the tests, leaving “officials and the public in the dark about the true scope of the pandemic as untold numbers of cases go uncounted,” Kaiser Health News has reported.
Her focus is on why the White House’s testing protocol failed so dramatically but the applicability of her observations are not limited to the White House or to testing. Neither testing, wearing facemasks, social distancing, nor even an effective vaccine is a panacea, not even if they were all used appropriately and effectively, and, indeed, there’s moral hazard associated with each or all of them.