COVID-19 or the Sars-2-COVID is still amongst us today. Research should not slow down. We can continue to learn from this even if things start to dampen today. If today in the New York Times, August 17, there is a report that herd immunity may have been achieved already in 45 to 55% of the population in places like Mumbai, India and Brooklyn, New York. However, for much of the population, that level has barely been reached. Without significant testing across the population, it is very difficult to make these assessments as well. Certainly not enough of the population is getting testing or incentivised to do so. Also, there are different tests, the PCR test which tests for active disease presence and the antibody test. Which type of tests are enough to administer and even if one takes an antibody test, how long does immunity last?
If NYC/NJ and surrounding area wants to continue to re-open then they will need everyone to understand that compliance with mask-wearing and social distancing is necessary. Also their developments in contact tracing have been scanty at best and these efforts need to continue to be promoted for things to move to re-opening. Re-opening too quickly promises to bring a 2nd wave, which everyone in this region, especially Governor Cuomo fear every day. Hospitals, like Mount Sinai, which closed their COVID units, would be forced to reopen such units. Everything would seemingly go backwards.
A little paper strip has been developed for COVID-19 testing and this will greatly speed up testing of everyone. Also, PCR tests are under scrutiny because they only tell if one tests positive or negative for the disease and not if they were already exposed. This then calls the need for antibody tests, from which results take longer to obtain. Hopefully the paper strips will help us move things forward. We all need this, if not for our sanity.
Written by Usha Govindarajulu