Experts: Expanding testing is the key to defeating COVID-19

Gov. Phil Murphy announced Tuesday additional efforts to expand COVID-19 testing in New Jersey.

News 12 Staff

May 20, 2020, 3:11 AM

Updated 1,429 days ago

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Gov. Phil Murphy announced on Tuesday additional efforts to expand COVID-19 testing in New Jersey.
Attorney General Gurbir Grewal has authorized more than 18,000 licensed pharmacists in the state to administer tests to customers without a prescription. Additionally, CVS will also be offering self-swab tests at a minimum of 50 locations across the state by the end of the month.
The expansion is part of the governor’s plan to reach 20,000 COVID-19 tests a day over the next couple of weeks. It will be crucial for New Jersey’s reopening plan. But, some health experts say that it may not be enough.
Murphy also says that demand for testing is slowing. It is partly because the virus is slowing. New Jersey is also offering testing for people with no symptoms.
“I think the public misunderstands the purpose of testing,” says Dr. Howard Forman, of the Yale School for Public Health.
Forman says that testing is about isolating anyone who is infected and spreading the virus. It could be from a person who is not feeling any symptoms. He mentions a 29-year-old man in South Korea who went out partying this month, without knowing that he was infected.
“And infected dozens and dozens and dozens of individuals. That should tell you how easy it is that a healthy person can go and basically cause a massive outbreak,” Forman says.
The professor says that 20,00 tests a day in New Jersey is fine, but that it is the bare minimum.
The governor says that he is more than confident that the state will be able to handle any outbreaks.
Photos: The Heroes of the Coronavirus Pandemic
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“Testing capacity has gone up almost every day. Don’t confuse demand with supply,” Murphy said.
But, places like Hoboken say that demand for testing is still strong. Jersey City continues to launch mobile testing sites. Similar efforts are being enacted in Bergen County – one of the first hotbeds for the virus. Paterson is expanding as well, although Mayor Andre Sayegh says that the city anticipated more people showing up.
“What would be very powerful is to get employers to take such responsibility for their employees that they have the incentive to test as often as necessary,” says Forman.
Forman says that as businesses reopen, it might mean testing every worker ever two days for a week, and then scaling back little by little. He says that if everyone took the virus seriously, it could be eradicated.
 


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