Covid-19 Testing Is in Short Supply. Should You Still Get a Test?



What is a conscientious person who already wears a mask and maintains social distance to do?

Yes, said R. Alta Charo, a professor of law and bioethics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“One of the most important things to keep in mind when discussing public health is the fact that this is fundamentally a community issue, not merely an individual health concern,” she said. “We are all in this together. What I do affects everyone around me, and what they do affects me.”

If public health experts want people to be tested, they should comply, especially if the goal is to gather critical information about how many people are infected at a given point, Professor Charo said.

Epidemiologists can use the data to determine how fast the virus is spreading and which measures are working, she said.

Taking a test, like wearing a mask, shows “a desire to be a part of the solution,” said Dr. K. C. Rondello, an epidemiologist at Adelphi University in Garden City, N.Y.

Molly Wallace, 24, who grew up on Martha’s Vineyard, was tested after she moved back to the island from Boston in March.

She was furloughed from her job as a medical assistant and began volunteering at a testing site, Test MV, at Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School, where she went to school.

Ms. Wallace said that she had never had coronavirus symptoms but that she had still felt obligated to be tested. “I don’t want to be the person to bring Covid here,” she said.

All residents and visitors to the island are encouraged to be tested at Test MV, where volunteers distribute free kits of self-administered nasal swabs, said Ms. Wallace, who is now the site’s outreach coordinator.



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