The US needs to make greater use of coronavirus tests to help control the pandemic, two top health officials said Wednesday.
Cheaper home tests would help schools and workplaces more safely open, they told a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
“For example, if we had widely available, inexpensive home testing, people could test themselves and stay home if they are infected. I am thinking schools, workplaces, and we could catch the disease early and prevent outbreaks,” Rep. Kim Schrier, a Democrat from Washington, who is a pediatrician, asked National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci.
“I not only agree with that, Dr. Schrier, I actually have been saying that for months and months and months – that we should be literally flooding the system with easily accessible, cheap, not needing a prescription, point of care, highly sensitive and highly specific, that we could do just what you are saying. And that in fact, you are going to be seeing more of that soon,” Fauci said.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky agreed. “I too, have been saying that and writing about it, as well. We know in schools, we know now that we didn’t know then, than there is less transmission in schools among kids than among adults,” Walensky said.
“I do believe that once we have teachers vaccinated that we can use testing in the schools – serial testing, cadence testing – to identify potential infections, asymptomatic infections, shut down clusters and keep our schools open.”