US coronavirus response unimaginative, should focus on rapid testing and indoor air: expert


Underused rapid antigen tests and lack of interest in cleaning indoor air are the two missing pieces amid the deadly, novel coronavirus pandemic, according to an expert.

The comments from Dr. Qanta Ahmed, pulmonologist at NYU Langone, come on the heels of Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warning on Sunday that the worst of the epidemic is yet to come.

The baseline of some 200,000 new daily cases in the U.S., along with a probable “post-seasonal surge,” per Fauci, will pressure the already-burdened health system to a critical point.

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“So, Dr. Fauci, things are going to be worse if we’re not changing our approaches,” Ahmed said on Fox & Friends Monday. Ahmed said rapid antigen testing can help detect virus outbreaks and clusters to better tailor quarantines, especially in California.

“We’ve got no ability of detecting that right now in the United States because we’re not using rapid antigen testing,” Ahmed added, voicing her increasing skepticism of lockdowns: “[There is] no imagination for new approaches. Rapid antigen testing tailors quarantine,” she said.

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“We’re not tailoring the measures and at the same time we’re destroying our economy,” she continued. 

“I think there’s two pieces missing. One is the rapid antigen testing, the second is zero interest in cleaning indoor air.”

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Health officials have warned that crowded indoor areas with poor ventilation can contribute to virus spread. Within the last week, California Gov. Gavin Newsom said statewide ICU capacity has dropped to 1.1%, with twice as many coronavirus and ICU patients in three weeks and hospitalizations up by over 60%.

The concerns come as nearly 120,000 Americans were hospitalized amid the holidays, with approximately 200,000 new daily cases and 2,000 daily deaths, according to data from The COVID Tracking Project.



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