This Is the No. 1 Problem With COVID Testing, According to Fauci
The benefits of contract tracing are negated by this coronavirus testing problem, according to Dr. Fauci.
Anthony Fauci, MD, revealed what he believes to be the biggest flaw in the coronavirus testing process in an appearance on CNN's The Lead with Jake Tapper on Tuesday, July 21. During the interview, the nation's leading epidemiologist was asked by anchor Jake Tapper if he had any idea why the federal government hasn't been "going after the virus … through testing and quick results and contact tracing." The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) opened by noting that there have been federal attempts to do that, but admitted that "we still have to make it better." He explained that the biggest outstanding issue getting in the way of contract tracing is the delays in getting COVID test results.
"The time frame from when you get a test to the time you get the result back is sometimes measured in a few days," Fauci said. "If that's the case, it kind of negates the purpose of the contact tracing."
The delay in getting coronavirus test results significantly undermines the overall benefits of contact tracing because in the days between the testing and the results, someone could have already infected multiple people.
Watch the video below, via CNN:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says "contact tracing involves identifying people who have an infectious disease (cases) and their contacts (people who may have been exposed) and working with them to interrupt disease transmission." In the case of COVID-19, the CDC says contact tracing measures include "asking cases to isolate and contacts to quarantine at home voluntarily."
"If you don't know if that person gets the results back, at a period of time that's reasonable—24 hours, 48 hours at the most—when you get to six or seven days, that kind of really mitigates against getting a good tracing and a good isolation," Fauci told Tapper. "So we've got to do better on that."
At the end of June, Fauci told CNBC that the government's attempt to contact trace was "not going well." "To just say you're going to go out and identify, contact trace and isolate, that doesn't mean anything until you do it," he said on June 26. "Not checking the box that you did it, but actually do it. Get people on the ground. Not on the phone. When you identify somebody, have a place to put them to get them out of social interaction." And for more advice from Fauci, check out 13 Tips From Dr. Fauci on How You Can Avoid Coronavirus.