Make masks ubiquitous Image

  • Connexions
  • Thu, 21 Jan 2021 11:31:24 GMT
  • 630

In a vast, largely closed society, it can be difficult to know what is happening on the ground, and there is no guarantee that the virus won’t roar back as the Chinese economy restarts.

But the lesson is that relatively unaffected regions of the United States will be needed to help rescue overwhelmed cities like New York and Seattle. Keeping these areas at least somewhat free of the coronavirus means enacting strict measures, and quickly.

Testing must be done in a coordinated and safe way, experts said. The seriously ill must go first, and the testers must be protected.

In China, those seeking a test must describe their symptoms on a telemedicine website. If a nurse decides a test is warranted, they are directed to one of dozens of “fever clinics” set up far from all other patients.

Personnel in head-to-toe gear check their fevers and question them. Then, ideally, patients are given a rapid flu test and a white blood cell count is taken to rule out influenza and bacterial pneumonia.

Then their lungs are visualized in a CT scanner to look for “ground-glass opacities” that indicate pneumonia and rule out cancer and tuberculosis. Only then are they given a diagnostic test for the coronavirus — and they are told to wait at the testing center.

The results take a minimum of four hours; in the past, if results took overnight, patients were moved to a hotel to wait — sometimes for two to three days, if doctors believed retesting was warranted. It can take several days after an exposure for a test to turn positive.  

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