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How mass testing can stop the Pandemic.
Vo Vecchio is the town where the first death from Covid-19 was recorded in Italy. It’s a town of 3,300 inhabitants about30 miles west of Venice. After that first death, the city was quarantined and every inhabitant, whether symptomatic or not, was tested. On the initial round of testing roughly 3 percent of inhabitants tested positive for Covid-19. Half of those had no symptoms and that is the key. Everyone testing positive was immediately put into quarantine as well as anyone who had come into contact with them. Two weeks later again everyone in the community was tested. This time there was a 90% drop in people testing positive, down to 0.3%.
As of the latest followup there were no new cases.
Elsewhere in Italy there has been a shortage of testing equipment and the infection has spread widely.
Vo Vecchio is an isolated, special case but it illustrates the possibilities of early and widespread testing. Testing picks up infected but asymptomatic people who are likely to be going about their business while spreading the virus.
Professor Andrea Crisanti, an infectious disease specialist at the nearby University of Padua,says that while it may not be possible to test everyone, we can test people with known exposure to symptomatic patients.
Mass testing seems to be the strategy that helped Korea “flatten the curve.” The key is that they were prepared for the pandemic while we, in the United States, wasted valuable time.
The reason we have to shelter in place is because we have no way of knowing if the person we are next to in the store is an asymptomatic carrier.

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