EB: We live in a world where we are used to having laboratory results quickly and efficiently. With a brand new test, we need to understand that the clinical laboratory takes time to ensure that the test is accurate. We also have to understand that the test is conducted on nasopharyngeal or oropharyngeal swabs. These have to be collected properly to get a good sample.
All of these steps take time, and the test is not a simple gram stain or pregnancy test. It is looking at PCR which is examining very small parts of cells (DNA and RNA).
TT: When this is over, we will be able to back track our steps and figure out what has worked and what we could do to prepare for another public health emergency. We will need to learn best practices from South Korea and other countries that were successful with testing. Our initial response to the pandemic was not timely. The minute we heard about the growing incidence of COVID-19 cases in China, the US should have prepared.
However, we did not do that. We lost valuable time to prepare for the pandemic. Furthermore, despite the recommendations made by Dr. Anthony Fauci that we needed to prepare for the pandemic, government leaders did not fully consider Dr. Fauci’s response; this slowed our response as a nation.