Our Time Press

America’s Lack of Testing Programs Puts Everyone at Risk

CRISIS! In this screenshot from WCBS-TV news coverage, a Mt. Sinai Hospital worker in Brooklyn is shown donning Personal Protection Equipment. These safety protocols are needed to protect both staff and patient from possible coronavirus infection. On Page 2, in an exclusive interview with Our Time Press, LaRay Brown, CEO, One Brooklyn Health, shares information on steps her system is taking. Ms. Brown oversees Interfaith Medical Center, Brookdale Hospital Medical Center and Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center.

The World Has Changed

We can now envision a dystopian future of masked figures moving through empty streets making a dash to buy food for another two weeks and then for another two weeks after that, and so on. That might be an exaggeration, but the point is, it may not be.

The world is different today and we don’t know where it’s headed. The future has suddenly changed for every single person in the country and in the world. Events we were planning to attend have suddenly been cancelled. Thousands of conferences, concerts and other gatherings small and large, including recent campaign rallies, have been either cancelled or postponed.

We are being told it is best to stay home and stay away from people. We are being advised to not get on crowded subways or buses.

Are taxi and car services required to disinfect their cars with each change of passengers?
Will hand sanitizer be mandated for every counter where money is exchanged?

In this health crisis, the poor, the Black and Brown will pay the highest price! They are more likely to have serious health issues! More likely NOT to have access to health care! Less likely to telecommute! And less able to withstand a sudden stopping of income!

What we need to know is: What is the extent of the spread here? How deeply is it imbedded in our community? What are the plans for testing me and my neighborhood?

South Korea has tested over 210,000 people. They are testing at 15-20,000 per day. They even have drive-through testing facilities. The US, on the other hand, has only tested a little over 8,000 people since the beginning of the crisis. Without testing, we have no idea if there are one thousand or a hundred thousand people carrying the virus in Brooklyn.

America lags because at the top of the decision-making process is a man who is aggressively ignorant. Trump insists he can still shake hands and hold large rallies (because he needs to hear the cheers), despite what every health professional says.
In his ignorance, he doesn’t realize he has met the foe that is more than his match. He does not comprehend that a virus cannot be bullied or name-called or lied away. None of his weapons will work here. The virus does not care about Donald Trump. It spreads.
We are a weakened nation going into an international health emergency. A virus is spreading. We don’t know what that portends for the November elections, the next flu season, or even Census-taking.

The world has changed. Our daily habits are affected, disrupting our routines and institutional behaviors. What we don’t know is how much and for how long.

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