With the news that 1 million people have died so far in 2022 with the pandemic virus, it’s more imperative than ever to keep testing for COVID.
“We cannot say we are learning to live with COVID-19 when one million people have died with COVID-19 this year alone,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu, director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO) in a regular briefing. “It’s been two-and-a-half years into the pandemic and we already have all the tools necessary to prevent these deaths.”
COVID-19 is an airborne virus that’s managed to develop different variants and has become adept at avoiding immunity. The leading variants, BA.5, BA.4.6, and BA.4 accounted for 99% of infections in the week ending August 24. And in total, 93,777,133 COVID-19 cases have been reported in the United States alone.
What’s keeping people from getting tested for COVID?
One study from Plos Medicine reveals respondents refuse to get tested if only one of the three main symptoms appears – fever, persistent or new cough, and loss of taste or smell. What’s more, respondents were less likely to get tested if their symptoms only lasted a day.
Continued testing for COVID-19 is vital for a multitude of reasons. It helps reduce transmission, saves lives, and helps health authorities navigate how to better battle the pandemic. However, when people refuse to get tested, it can have deadly consequences, especially for those who are most vulnerable.
Consistent testing for COVID-19 saves lives
By performing a simple RT-PCR or antigen test, you can literally save lives. With the knowledge that you are infected, you can immediately limit the spread of the virus. You isolate yourself from others and inform people you’ve been in close contact with to get tested for the virus.
The effects of COVID-19 will vary even if you’ve been fully vaccinated. Some experience an asymptomatic infection, some have a mild or severe infection, while some experience long-term effects known as long-COVID.
It is advised to get tested before attending gatherings (indoor and outdoor). The consequences of coming into contact with anyone else while unknowingly having COVID can be devastating.
What’s more, it’s imperative that you get tested regularly, especially if you’re around vulnerable or immunocompromised individuals. This includes pregnant women, newborn infants, senior citizens, someone undergoing chemotherapy, and other immunocompromised individuals.
Women who are pregnant or recently pregnant are at an increased risk of a severe illness with COVID-19. Furthermore, studies show that individuals with a history of heart failure are twice at risk of grave effects from COVID-19.
5-day isolation is ineffective if you don’t get tested
Most people misinterpret that once they finish isolating for five days after testing positive for COVID, they’re free to do whatever they want. However, one study found that two-thirds of COVID-19 patients can STILL transmit the virus five days after the onset of symptoms.
“We recommend that anyone who has been exposed to the virus and has symptoms isolates for at least five days,” said Ajit Lalvani, director of the NIHR Respiratory Infections Health Protection Research Unit at Imperial and co-author of the study. “Use daily lateral flow tests to safely leave isolation when two consecutive daily tests are negative.”
Moreover, it was also found that lateral flow tests are a reliable way to determine whether someone is still infectious… if done correctly of course. These tests are at least 92% accurate in identifying peak levels of a COVID-19 infection. However, false negative results can happen if these tests aren’t administered correctly. This is why it’s always best when possible to get a medical professional to do a test for you.
Important ways you can stop the spread of COVID-19
With the circulation of new COVID-19 variants, there is a need for more vigilance against the virus. Being complacent puts you, your loved ones and vulnerable strangers in danger of contracting COVID. The best thing we can do for now is to curb the spread of the virus by following safety precautions:
- Wear a well-fitted face mask in public places
- Practice social distancing
- Avoid crowded areas and places with limited airflow
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- Cover your face whenever you need to cough or sneeze
- Stay up to date on all your vaccination and booster shots
- Sanitize high-touch surfaces such as doorknobs and light switches
- Isolate yourself from others IMMEDIATELY if you are experiencing COVID-like symptoms or someone you know tested positive for the virus
- Keep testing for COVID
- Live a healthier lifestyle
The following guidelines above may not always sound easy, but doing your best to adhere to them can help save a life.
To end the ongoing pandemic, we must keep testing for COVID. Regular testing will reduce the transmission of COVID and help detect any emerging variants. Furthermore, with the help of regular COVID-19 tests, scientists and medical professionals can learn more about the virus.
As we gradually return to our pre-pandemic lives, many people are becoming complacent when it comes to safety guidelines. Even though travel and gatherings are now allowed, we must not forget that the virus is still present.
Always get tested if you believe you’ve been exposed to the virus, even if you’re not experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms. It’s best to get tested before you go to places with many people or live with someone who’s immunocompromised. One mistake can result in tragedy.
Luckily, getting tested for COVID-19 is easier now than it has ever been. Aside from drive-thru and in-person lab tests, you can now have a COVID test delivered straight to your home. What’s more, if you’re in the NYC area, you can even have one delivered via UBER.
Whatever the case, these testing methods are a far more efficient way to determine if you have COVID-19. All results are analyzed in a lab by medical professionals, thus limiting any errors in testing.