Dr. Fauci Just Made This Alarming Admission About COVID Testing

The NIAID director said there are "intense discussions" at the White House about a new testing approach.

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The accuracy of COVID-19 testing has been a major issue amid the coronavirus pandemic. And now, Anthony Fauci, MD, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), is admitting that the current testing approach is "not working." "Something's not working," Fauci said plainly in an extensive interview with The Washington Post. "I mean, you can do all the diagramming you want, but something is not working."

As a result, he said members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force are having "intense discussions" about a new approach called "pool testing." This approach tests samples from a group of people at once. If the results are negative, the entire group is clear. If they're positive, further testing is conducted and those individuals can be isolated and treated accordingly.

According to reporting by The Washington Post, the new approach works this way:

Samples from, say, 20 people are combined into a single pool. One coronavirus test is used on the entire pool. If the test comes back negative, researchers know they can move on to another pool of samples. If it comes back positive, only then would each individual be tested.

This allows officials to test more people with fewer resources.

gloved hands in lab putting a swab into coronavirus test vial
Shutterstock/Horth Rasur

"What you need to do is find the penetration of infected people in your society," Fauci told The Washington Post. "And the only way you know that is by casting a broad net."

Like masks, nationwide testing of COVID-19 has become yet another political football in this hyper-partisan environment. There has been a very recent surge in cases among states that reopened early, which has led to a series of public rebukes and condemnations of inconsistent testing processes across a number of states.

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President Donald Trump has repeatedly explained the surge in cases as a result of increased testing, but that ignores an increased percentage of positive tests and increased hospitalizations in states across the country. By almost any reasonable measure, the coronavirus is spreading at an alarming rate, and an improved and more efficient testing process can only help abate this very dangerous public health risk. And for more on coronavirus tests, check out The One Mistake You're Probably Making When It Comes to COVID Testing.

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