ATLANTA, GA— The following is an opinion editorial by Eric Doherty, President, Blink Science.
The CDC declared that fully vaccinated people don’t need to wear masks indoors, yet they still must show a negative COVID test before boarding an international flight to the US. Two weeks ago, eight members of the fully vaccinated NY Yankees tested positive for COVID. While the vaccines worked as promised, thirty-seven percent of their vaccinated travelling party were infected.
The Yankees are a special case. They learned of the breakthrough infections only because they tested for them. However, the number of daily tests in the US dipped last week to levels not seen in more than a year. Epidemiologists predict that we may be significantly undercounting infections, particularly among the asymptomatic and vaccinated. Lack of testing does not equal a lack of infection.
In the US, just over 50% of the population has been vaccinated, but a little more than 40% are fully vaccinated. A recent Gallup poll revealed more than a billion people worldwide will refuse the vaccination. Vaccines alone don’t guarantee safety. There’s insufficient data about transmission among the vaccinated and protection against variants. Furthermore, without testing, we have no idea if people have COVID, vaccinated or not.
COVID testing can be costly, invasive, and time-consuming. Many organizations still testing have moved to surveillance testing, where a portion of the population is tested on defined intervals, or pooled testing, where an entire group has their samples tested together to reduce cost.
Businesses and schools have invested millions in the past year to keep people safe. We are in a much better place now with the availability of vaccines, more affordable and faster tests, and technology to facilitate the flow of people through facilities. Is now the time to put that behind us and reopen our workplaces and schools without precautions? Nobody wants to be caught unprepared when a new variant arrives and spreads, unencumbered by current vaccines.
What is an acceptable risk for your organization? High absenteeism, financial losses due to another shut down, public relations nightmares due to your super spreader event?
The only way to ensure that nobody in your facilities has COVID is to test every person, every day, whether they are vaccinated or not. Unrealistic?
At Blink Science we’re working to make it possible to test everyone, everywhere with an instant, ultra-low-cost saliva test, and a tech suite to enable people to move safely through your facilities knowing that everyone is COVID-free. It’s game-changing technology with the potential to end this world-wide pandemic and prevent the next one.
So, let’s reopen your offices, venues, factories, schools—at full capacity—but do so knowing that everyone in your care is safe. This is the new normal and it’s coming soon.
Contact: Todd Bennett /persown