Earlier this morning, CVS Health announced that it will nearly double its Covid-19 drive-thru testing sites by mid-October, bringing the total to more than 4,000 testing sites nationwide. This is yet another pharmaceutical player that is significantly ramping up testing capabilities across the country.
As Chief Operating Officer of CVS Health, Jon Roberts, mentioned in the press report: “Since opening our first test site in March, we’ve been able to quickly adapt to the changing landscape in order to make it easier for people in the communities we serve to access testing.” The company also reports that it manages the largest number of independently-run testing sites in the country, and has “administered three million COVID-19 tests since March.”
Indeed, this will have a significant impact on communities. Primarily, there will be more opportunity for people to get tested, especially at a time when states are resuming activities at an accelerated pace.
One of the significant areas of uncertainty that many healthcare leaders and policymakers are grappling with is what to expect in the coming weeks and months with the reopening of schools, universities, and workplaces. While many institutions have provided virtual options for their students, many have also opened their doors for live and in-person experiences, raising significant questions as to how this will impact the spread of coronavirus. Additionally, some companies are starting to follow suit and allow for in-person work and meetings.
Another area of concern is the impending flu season, which many are speculating will cause a massive stress to the healthcare system, especially if coronavirus cases are not tamed. Indeed, the next few months will entail significant challenges.
Given these scenarios, increased and accurate testing capabilities will be a vital part of preventing massive outbreaks of Covid-19. The importance of testing has been repeatedly emphasized. Dr. Eduardo Sanchez, Chief Medical Officer for Prevention at the American Heart Association, stated in early April: “When a communicable disease outbreak begins, the ideal response is for public health officials to begin testing for it early. That leads to quick identification of cases, quick treatment for those people and immediate isolation to prevent spread. Early testing also helps to identify anyone who came into contact with infected people so they too can be quickly treated.”
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci has strongly expressed similar sentiment, encouraging testing capabilities be prioritized as reopening procedures take place, especially as a means to “get those who are infected out of society so that they don’t infect others,” and “to respond to the outbreaks that will inevitably occur as you try and ease your way back into the different phases.” Dr. Fauci has been one of the foremost voices in the battle against coronavirus since the start of the pandemic.
Indeed, large players like CVS and other prominent pharmaceutical companies ramping up their testing efforts in communities across the country will be critical to mitigating massive outbreaks. This will be important as more people start venturing out into workplaces, and also for students, as the school year continues.
As CVS’ Jon Roberts so aptly states: “We recognize the critical role testing plays in helping to manage the spread of the virus and are incredibly proud of how our teams have responded to this need while continuing to take care of our customers, clients and patients.”
Most critically, it is important to note that while testing is a necessary aspect of coronavirus prevention, it is not sufficient. In order to truly stop the spread of the virus, people must commit and adhere to scientific and evidence based public health recommendations on how to prevent infection, including guidelines on isolation, hygiene, seeking treatment, masking, etc. Indeed, only with a combined effort based on scientific reasoning can society ultimately overcome the dire effects of this pandemic.
The content of this article is not implied to be and should not be relied on or substituted for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment by any means, and is not written or intended as such. This content is for information and news purposes only. Consult with a trained medical professional for medical advice.