America needs to completely rethink our public policy approach to COVID-19, a Harvard epidemiologist argued on Tuesday.
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Assistant Professor of Epidemiology and Immunology Michael Joseph Mina, MD, PhD made his case in a new TIME magazine column and Twitter thread.
"We are at war with a virus that is currently winning by taking two 9/11’s worth of victims every week—by Christmas it could be three. There is no question that if 1,000 Americans were dying each day in a war, we would act swiftly and decisively. Yet, we are not. This should not be about politics—it is about human beings—and we should be acting like it," Dr. Mina charged.
"So far, the U.S. government has put most of our eggs in the vaccine basket, and despite the vaccine always being “one more month away,” we have a long road ahead before a vaccine is safe, effective and, most crucially, widely available. To win the war on COVID-19, we need a multi-pronged public health strategy that includes a national testing plan that utilizes widespread frequent rapid antigen tests to stop the spread of the virus. We need to think strategically and creatively, be bold, and most importantly, not allow the perfect to be the enemy of the good," he argued.
He has a simple solution.
"Widespread and frequent rapid antigen testing (public health screening to suppress outbreaks) is the best possible tool we have at our disposal today—and we are not using it," he explained. "It would significantly reduce the spread of the virus without having to shut down the country again—and if we act today, could allow us to see our loved ones, go back to school and work, and travel—all before Christmas."
Here is the thread he posted to Twitter:
HERE IS THE PLAN TO GET US OUT OF THIS #COVID19 WAR • NO lockdowns • NO waiting for vaccines • Reverses cases in… https://t.co/VIW22ZHqkW— Michael Mina (@Michael Mina)1605663136.0
It is time the government STOPS the nonsence of treating this like scattered medical problems to be addressed medic… https://t.co/Y8srGWxYz7— Michael Mina (@Michael Mina)1605663470.0
Our Leaders must rise to find the courage to buck the trends and be true leaders. They must try new, bold ideas i… https://t.co/Xryuga18wQ— Michael Mina (@Michael Mina)1605663925.0
We MUST STOP FAILING And we can't stop failing by doing the EXACT SAME THING OVER AND OVER FOR MONTHS Trump did n… https://t.co/8PVOEBGZRv— Michael Mina (@Michael Mina)1605664086.0
If Congress won't provide $5B to produce 20M first in class rapid antigen tests every day for America, we need… https://t.co/4MfZ04t2wF— Michael Mina (@Michael Mina)1605664502.0
Thread 👆perhaps resonates with you folks... @vivek_murthy @Sebelius @jhuber @EricTopol @davidaxelrod @K_G_Andersen… https://t.co/Uh42mFtMZb— Michael Mina (@Michael Mina)1605665967.0
Discussed this all w @profvrr on This Week in Virology 640 too quite a while ago. https://t.co/GKdiJU9bfX— Michael Mina (@Michael Mina)1605667376.0