Could rapid testing for COVID-19 be US’s key to crushing the virus?

Could the U.S. finally get ahead of COVID-19, if it had a better system of rapid testing? A D.C.-area college professor says yes.

Zoey McLaren, associate professor at the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland Baltimore, said rapid tests are great at identifying people who are contagious and at-risk of transmitting the virus.

“Rapid tests can diagnose 95 to 99% of all infectious COVID cases,” McLaren said.

She said the U.S. needs to immediately address its rapid test shortage. “The current government needs to boost the supply of existing rapid tests and try to bring prices down.”

McLaren said in the U.K. and Germany, people can get rapid tests for less than $1 or for free, so they can test more frequently and before they enter a crowd.

Rapid tests have already disappeared from pharmacy shelves in many parts of the U.S. Manufacturers warn it will take them weeks to ramp up production, after scaling it back amid plummeting demand over the summer.

In D.C., most public libraries are offering PCR tests that have to be sent to a lab.

Rapid tests have a clear advantage in that they can be done anywhere and have a short turn-around time.

More Coronavirus News

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

Kyle Cooper

Anchor and reporter Kyle Cooper, has been with WTOP since 1992. Over those 25 years Kyle has worked as a street reporter, editor and anchor. Prior to WTOP Kyle worked at several radio stations in Indiana, and at the Indianapolis Star Newspaper.

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