In the Herald, where else?
SCOTLAND has been urged to improve its Covid checks to include border controls as it emerged that the nation is only testing at up to a third of its ability as it hits a second wave of the virus. It comes as questions have been raised over apparent slumps in Scotland’s technical ability to test for Covid and continuing failures to meet the First Minister’s target of contacting one in five of those required to quarantine after travelling to Scotland from high-risk countries.
I weary at times of correcting this fake news but, hey, if only one person is affected and dumps the Herald, I’m happy.
Scotland is only testing a third of its capacity because testing is not THE answer. For example, we have more testing capacity than we need right now because we’re getting ready for worse times to come, perhaps, when we might need it and mass testing can be counter-productive, because the asymptomatic cases cannot be reliably tested and if returned negative, may then go on to circulate more confidently and infect more.
Professor Cam Donaldson, Yunus Chair and Pro Vice Chancellor Research, Glasgow Caledonian University, walking distance from the Herald offices, writes in Coronavirus: as a health economist, I’m not convinced the case for mass testing stacks up:
Beyond prioritising NHS and other key workers, we might ask, in pure cost-benefit terms, what is the point of following the World Health Organization’s “test, test, test” mantra? South Korea, which is characterised as a country engaged in mass testing, has conducted only 400,000 tests, or the equivalent of around a third of NHS staff – which puts into perspective what is really achievable.
In any case, South Korea acted much earlier and combined testing with isolating infected people and rigorously tracing whoever they had been in contact with. None of this looks feasible in the UK. Mass testing would also further divert nursing and laboratory resources from other much-needed care activities, so this must also form part of the equation.
As for the testing ‘fails‘, when will the Herald acknowledge that they have been answered fully since they wondered confusedly at the end of August:
At the time, the Tusker’s reply was:
Less than 3 weeks ago, Scotland’s MSM and their opposition party feeders were hopeful they might embarrass the Scottish Government on their contact tracing data. Sadly for them, last week, the FM was able to reveal 97% success.
Today the figures for England were published and only 75.5% have been contacted, failing the 80% (only) target there:
Finally, we read in the Herald:
Respected? Once perhaps, though their anti-English stance here will win them new friends.