Covid-19 – the point of testing

I heard Director-General of Health, Ashley Bloomfield, criticise increased testing, “that many people were asymptomatic”.

Not True! Even if someone is asymptomatic they can have Covid-19. In fact, they may be immune – which is important information because that means they could go back to work. We NEED to know such things.

Relying on current testing protocols is foolish. People referred for testing are people who have traveled or have symptoms and are therefore a biased sample. People arriving at testing stations are generally not those most at risk e.g. 70-year-olds who are not supposed to be out driving – more biased sampling.

(What about) people who don’t have cars, the homeless, people ill by other causes, families responsibly self-isolating and so on? We cannot rely on current testing procedures.

Randomised sampling will reveal the true extent of the virus within the population in an unbiased manner. This will help us make decisions e.g. if the general penetration of Covid-19, in the population, is over 10 per cent then we may as well all go back to work in an ordered manner, so the health system is taxed but not overloaded i.e. get through this as quickly as possible.

We can ‘strategically isolate’ at-risk groups. We can track the viral progress, virulence and population resistance in an evidentiary manner and apply that data to the models.

But we haven’t, rather we have closed down a whole country based on ‘models’ based on unknowns and without a clearly defined “end-point”.

Dr Mike Schmidt (postgraduate degree in Microbiology)

Pakuranga