Widespread testing, public health investment could help tame pandemic

Fast and easy coronavirus testing could help the U.S. get back to some semblance of normalcy during the coronavirus pandemic, according to surgeon, writer, and public health researcher Atul Gawande.

In a September 2, 2020 New Yorker article, Gawande, professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and founder and chair of Ariadne Labs, outlined myriad problems with testing in the U.S.—such as long wait times, insurance coverage issues, and the absence of widespread regular testing for everyone, even those without symptoms. He discussed ways to rapidly scale testing capacity and highlighted some communities and organizations that are starting to do it.

“The reason we don’t [have the testing capacity we need] is not simply that our national leadership is unfit but also that our health-care system is dysfunctional,” he wrote. “We are now paying the price of our long, uniquely American resistance to making sure that everyone has proper health-care coverage, and to building an adequate public-health infrastructure.”

Gawande was also interviewed about coronavirus testing by NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly on September 14.

Read the New Yorker article: We Can Solve The Coronavirus-Test Mess Now—If We Want To

Listen to NPR coverage: How the U.S. Could Solve The Coronavirus Test Mess