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Testing Is Essential To Save Lives and Protect Human Health

Lessons From Coronavirus: Frin The Environmental Working Group

TUESDAY, MARCH 17, 2020

Testing, testing, testing – the novel coronavirus has revealed the critical importance of swift and accurate testing and reporting, something that for decades the Environmental Working Group has advocated for across multiple areas of public health and the environment.

The rate of new cases of the virus within different countries has varied considerably and has seemed to depend on how quickly governments have swept into action. In fact, slowing its spread hinges on finding those who test positive for the virus and ensuring they’re quarantined immediately. This requires a coordinated effort to identify all who could have come into contact with infected individuals, and testing as many of them possible, as quickly as possible. Widespread testing enables the detection of virus carriers without symptoms who could infect others. And only testing can uncover the full scope of the problem.

The actual number of people infected with coronavirus – and able to spread it to others – may be five to 10 times greater than the number of confirmed cases, the New York Times reported this week, summarizing new research published in the journal Science. The study, “Substantial undocumented infection facilitates the rapid dissemination of novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV2),” emphasized how the lack of testing creates pathways for other people to become infected. Most infected carriers have very mild symptoms and can unknowingly transmit the disease to people who can experience life-threatening complications from COVID-19.

Source: Environmental Working Group

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