BERNARD COLUMN: Lack of Covid testing capabilities is inexcusable

Published 10:30 am Tuesday, January 18, 2022

By Jack Bernard
Former Director of Health Planning for Georgia. He has been on the Board of two Georgia county Boards of Health.

We have been facing this pandemic for close to two years. But we still do not have our act together on either the national or state level.

As an example, let’s take testing. Why aren’t there more Covid-19 test kits available? Why can’t you just to the drug store and get one like you would a bottle of aspirin? 

No one in government, whether a politician, bureaucrat or scientist, can say that testing in the US has ever been smooth. It’s been a total failure from day one. 

For example (and there are many), way back in March of 2020, the AP ran a story entitled “Virus testing is a failing.”

In it, Dr Fauci (NIH’s infectious disease guru) was quoted as saying “The system is not really geared to what we need right now. That is a failing.”

The article goes on to describe how badly we were doing regarding “large scale testing.” The article made the points that the “US simply isn’t testing enough people” and that results were not getting back to people on time. 

That same month, The Atlantic carried a similar story about testing stating that our “response to the coronavirus…has been shockingly sluggish, especially compared with that of other developed countries.” It went on to say that, due to a lack of coordination between the CDC and states, the testing figures reported were incomplete and, therefore, very inaccurate. 

Another piece in The Atlantic in August of 2020 stated that the US “careened between inaction and ineptitude.” At the time, the US had 4% of the globe’s population .. .but 25% of the world’s COVID cases.

In December of 2020, after the Presidential election, I wrote columns stating that the US needed to have a comprehensive plan. I was very specific about what should be in the plan, including availability of daily testing and 24-48 hour turn around.

Looking back, these guys in DC must have known all along that we blew it regarding our response to the virus … and that a new approach was required. Our political and scientific leaders must have realized that a realistic strategic plan (including options based on varying scenarios) was needed to address the pandemic.   Because we have the same problems now, including testing, that we did back then, obviously this vital plan was never drawn up. And that says a lot about both our politicians and the CDC’s scientists and bureaucrats.