Drs. Fauci and Birx, you are working tirelessly and heroically to fight Coronavirus. Everyone thanks you. But you are ignoring the obvious way to actually save American lives and livelihoods. It’s PCR-based household-group testing. The protocol, developed by Cornell’s Operations Research professor, Peter Frazier, can contain and kill Covid-19 in one month!
Dear Drs. Fauci and Birx,
You are working tirelessly and heroically to fight Coronavirus. I and hundreds of millions of other Americans thank you for your efforts. Yet I find myself totally perplexed as to why you are ignoring the obvious and sure way to eliminate the scourge of Covid-19 in just one month.
The solution is PCR group-household testing of all American households every week. Doing so will require running only 6 million tests per week, which is eminently and imminently feasible. Group testing was developed by economist Robert Dorfman during WWII to test for syphilis in army recruits. It’s used routinely to test blood donations. It’s also been used in PCR testing of animals. Its sensitivity to Covid-19 has been clearly established by Israeli scientists.
Testing all American households every week won’t just save the economy, which is literally at death’s door. It will save tens of thousands of lives. Compared to what you two are effectively sanctioning — each state opens up while paying lip service to your, at best, hopeful guidelines — bulletproof group testing is a godsend.
PCR group-household testing entails combining (mixing together) household samples and performing a test on the combined mixture. Given the new FDA-approved Rutgers University saliva test, all household members can spit into a single container and deliver or mail that container to a test-collection site with a filled out label detailing all contact information of all household members.
Suppose at the testing facility, the samples from 62 households are mixed together and tested. Further, assume the combined sample tests negative. In this case, we can clear 155 people (assuming 2.5 people per household) with a single test! That’s a 155 to 1 efficiency factor relative to testing each person separately!
If a household tests negative, each household member would be notified to go to their local pharmacy to receive a green wristband coded to change to red after one week. After one week, everyone in the household would provide a new sample and be re-group tested.
This system is voluntary. But if you choose to have your household tested and receive your green wristband, you’ll be permitted by your employer to return to work, by your teachers and professors to return to school, and by proprietors to enter their restaurants, shops, cafes, etc. You’ll also be allowed to frequent the beach, attend concerts, go to the movies, … .
Any household that tests positive will be required by the local board of health to quarantine in place for two weeks and then be re-tested. Households that don’t voluntarily get tested will be free to come and go as they wish. But without their green bracelets, they will have a hard time entering into workplaces and other establishments. Employers who hired the untested could face legal liability. The same holds for any business serving the public who lets someone onto their premises without a green bracelet. Moreover, no one will eagerly enter into a restaurant, board an airplane, attend a university lecture, head to the mall, or go back to work unless they can see with their own two eyes that everyone they are encountering has tested negative within the past seven days.