States like California, New York and Florida have cities with more COVID-19 tests than they know what to do with.
After tough criticism of the Trump administration’s coronavirus response and lack of testing capacity, state and local leaders with a surplus of tests now see the next issue: finding people willing to take the test.
"People don’t want to get more tests,"Buck Sexton,the host of “The Buck Sexton Show,” said Monday. “I don’t want to show up and get a swab in my nose for no reason. I have no symptoms. Unless I have a reason to do this-- if I’m going to be around people particularly at high risk—and how often am I supposed to do this? I could get a swab, be infected tomorrow and be contagious in four days.”
The Associated Press reported that Los Angeles, for example, has thousands of tests that are not used each week, despite opening tests up for anyone willing to be tested. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has also appealed to the public to take advantage of the state’s surplus of tests that see a significant amount go unused each day.
NBC 4 NewYork reported that Cuomo said some sites across the state with a capacity to test 15,000 each day are only testing 5,000. The governor even submitted to a test in an attempt to show New Yorkers how easy it is to get done.
"I am not good at this, but this test is not an invasive test, there's no pain to this test there is nothing about this test that should intimidate people from not taking this test. ... It is so fast and so easy that even a governor can take this test. That's how fast and easy it is," Cuomo said, according to the station.
Health experts working with government officials on the U.S. attempt to reopen have stressed the importance of testing and tracking.
"The whole point of this social distancing is to buy us time to build up capacity to do the types of public health interventions we know work,”Natalie Dean, a biostatistics professor at the University of Florida, told Vox. “If we’re not using this time to scale up testing to the level that we need it to be … we don’t have an exit strategy. And then when we lift things, we’re no better equipped than we were before.”
Sexton said one of the key issues is that – once again—government officials did not think through how to successfully implement the rollout. Those who are asymptomatic are unlikely to be motivated to be tested.
“Once again, the obey-the-experts hysteria drowns out the obvious reality here that everybody can see,” Sexton said. “But that’s not going to stop them.”