Lack of Testing Leaves Us In The Dark with Covid-19

Covid-19The UK’s blind, blanket ban on movement during this coronavirus crisis is akin to trying to fly a plane, navigate a ship or drive a car wearing a blindfold and ear plugs!

Compare us to Germany, which is currently testing as many as 500,000 people each week for Covid-19. Britain, on the other hand, is badly lagging behind. In the UK just 104,800 tests have been conducted in the entire period since the end of January.

When we compare the proportion of people infected who go on to die the lowest rates of all are in Germany and Austria. Only around 0.7% of people infected go on to die in these countries.

Indeed, according to researchers at the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Centre, of the 53,340 Germans infected just 395 have died. In Austria the figures are 7,712 infections have led to just 58 fatalities.

There is no real difference between the way that Germany tests people and the way we do it in the UK. Where the difference is stark is in the volume of the testing.

Germany now tests as many as 500,000 people a week for coronavirus, while Britain has conducted a measly 104,800 tests in the whole period since January’s end.

Austria is also testing heavily. Its plan is to hit 15,000 tests a day while Britain, with nearly eight times the size of population, says it aims for just 10,000 a day by the end of this month.

In Germany, the Robert Koch Institute, that has the responsibility for officially recording deaths in that country, says it treats “someone to be a corona death” in all cases where some sort of corona infection is proven. This effectively means those deaths counted as corona deaths include ALL deaths that can be associated with Covid-19.

So the German testers include all who have died from Covid-19, including all people who have underlying health problems and are infected even where it’s not even possible to say what actually killed them.

Those who are not tested before they die but are suspected of Covid-19 are tested post-mortem and if there are signs of coronavirus infection, they are listed as Covid-19 deaths.

So the German method counts anyone infected with Covid-19 who goes on to die as a Covid-19 victim regardless of whether it’s proven the virus killed them directly.

That is pretty much how deaths are also counted in the UK. So we are comparing like with like. The reasons for Germany’s lower death toll, are largely down to this extensive testing. The fact is that high testing rates not only assist authorities monitor and understand coronavirus’s spread but also it helps the medics fight Covid-19’s lethality.

With clear knowledge of what is going on and where enables the selective quarantining of those people who have or may have the virus so that the most vulnerable can be better shielded. It means medical attention can be targeted at the vulnerable at an early stage so their chances of survival are increased.

Meanwhile we in the UK are still in the dark!

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