CDC/FEMA draft plan ignores swab shortages and other failures in the “free-market” for testing.

A leaked CDC/FEMA draft plan tries to triage mitigation efforts, commodifies immunity without testing, and attempts to divert attention from Trump’s missteps.

In the interim, swab and PPE shortages may be contributing to a decline in testing by commercial labs, which (of course) has nothing to do with keeping the case numbers down. 

Trump’s “cutie-pie” capitalism attempts to cartelize markets as Trump pimps specific firms over others, some with industry concentration. Darn kleptocracy.

A draft national strategy to reopen the country in phases, developed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, emphasizes that even a cautious and phased approach “will entail a significant risk of resurgence of the virus.”

The internal document, obtained by The Washington Post, warns of a “large rebound curve” of novel coronavirus cases if mitigation efforts are relaxed too quickly before vaccines are developed and distributed or broad community immunity is achieved.

About 26,000 people have now died from the coronavirus in the United States, and more than 608,000 cases have been reported.

The framework lays out criteria that should be in place before a region can responsibly ease guidelines related to public gatherings: a “genuinely low” number of cases; a “well functioning” monitoring system capable of “promptly detecting” spikes of infections; a public health system able to react robustly to new cases and local health systems that have enough inpatient beds to rapidly scale up in the event of a surge in cases.

This would seem to necessitate ramping up testing and production of personal protective equipment at levels not currently being done.

  • The report outlines three levels of mitigation: low, moderate and significant.
  • The CDC also wants to create a Covid-19 Response Corps.
  • One idea being discussed at the highest levels of government is that people who appear to have recovered from covid-19 should be granted a certificate of immunity, which would give them clearance to work and do other activities.
  • The number of coronavirus tests being analyzed daily by commercial labs plummeted more than 30 percent over the last week.
  • But Trump has become increasingly intent on reopening the country on May 1.
  • Trump’s advisers are trying to shield the president from political accountability should his move to reopen the economy prove premature and result in lost lives, and so they are trying to mobilize business executives, economists and other prominent figures to buy into the eventual White House plan, so that if it does not work, the blame can be shared broadly.”

www.washingtonpost.com/…

The number of coronavirus tests being analyzed daily by commercial labs plummeted more than 30 percent over the last week.

Coronavirus testing hits dramatic slowdown in U.S.

The number of coronavirus tests analyzed each day by commercial labs in the U.S. plummeted by more than 30 percent over the past week, even though new infections are still surging in many states and officials are desperately trying to ramp up testing so the country can reopen.

One reason for the drop-off may be the narrow testing criteria that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last revised in March. The agency’s guidelines prioritize hospitalized patients, health care workers and those thought to be especially vulnerable to the disease, such as the elderly. Health providers have been turning away others in part due to shortages of the swabs used to collect samples.

It’s not clear whether demand has peaked among the groups on the CDC’s priority list. But after being overwhelmed for weeks, commercial labs say they are now sitting with unused testing capacity waiting for samples to arrive.

The continued glitches in the U.S. testing system are threatening to impede attempts to reopen the economy and return to normal life. Expanding testing as much as possible is essential so officials have enough data to determine when it’s safe to lift social distancing measures and allow people to go back to work. Continued testing beyond that point will help officials detect — and stamp out — sparks that could set off new outbreaks.

 

[…]

Quest Diagnostics, one of two major U.S. commercial lab companies, told POLITICO it is increasing outreach to health providers to “ensure patients are receiving testing they need.” The lab company, which had a backlog of 160,000 tests as recently as late March, says it now can run 45,000 tests per day and has unused capacity.

But some labs are still struggling with supply shortages that make it difficult to analyze samples. Many medical school labs and teaching hospitals are having trouble getting enough swabs, personal protective equipment and other supplies needed to collect and analyze patient samples, Association of American Medical Colleges CEO David Skorton said Monday in a letter to the White House.

www.politico.com/…