No one wants to be the bad guy who strips the dignity of rugged American individualism away from American citizens via mandated and reported testing for COVID-19. In fact, under current laws, we don’t know if we can even do that. President Trump, however, has indicated that it is up to each governor to decide how each state will start a trip back to a new normal. No one knows how to do this rationally, and with compassion, but it’s your job.
I offer you this bit of humble advice. Just as citizens of your State or Commonwealth can test themselves in the privacy of their own homes for HIV infection, for pregnancy, and for paternity, and their kids for drug use, those same citizens can and should have the ability to test themselves privately in their homes for COVID-19. Let me explain why this counterintuitive idea not only makes sense- but that it is the only rational piece of the puzzle on the table.
First, not everyone needs clinical testing. The idea of constant clinical testing, with every major medical facilty overrun by people – even at remote drive-though testing facilities – is not only ludicrous – it is unnecessary, wasteful and risky to bring people together who might spread SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Medical staff burn through personal protective gear more quickly when people who do not need to be tested show up to be tested.
Second, those who privately test in the safety of their homes who test positive will likely seek medical care – and there, they will be tested– just as a woman who have a positive result of a pregnancy test in her home who seeks clinical care for her pregnancy will receive clinical confirmation of the in-home test, hundreds of millions of negative test results do not tie up clinical facilities
Third, American citizens should be treated as adults. Some of the tests on the market for clinical use – such as Vibrant America’s 7-biomarker test – are extremely accurate and reliable, and are being re-made into tests for in-home use. In-home use, however, is not enough. American citizens should not have to report their results unless they seek clinical care. Why? Because more people will test more frequently if they do not have to report.
Finally, imagine a future in which workplaces offer two 2-week sick periods per year for every full-time employee. That’s a new normal because employees do not – and should not – be required to report their health status to anyone, including their employers. If someone becomes infected with SARS-CoV-2, they should be able to test themselves with a quick finger prick – and get the results in 15 minutes. They can – and will – then decide what the optimal choice for their next two weeks’ activity based on their status. Individuals who are IgM positive should choose to self-isolate. Individuals who are IgG positive should not hesitate to rejoin society – and they might want to volunteer for blood donations for convalescent plasma therapy.
Public health officials are calling for more testing, but they mean clinical testing to assess the situation. Real-time IgG and IgM status can inform individuals on their next rational steps – in as little as ten or fifteen minutes.
If we want to get America back to work, and re-open the economy, citizens should have the right to real-time information on their status – information they can use. Mass consumption will drive the price of such test down to as low as $10 per test.
I have outlined some guidances for those steps that States can consider adopting and encouraging their citizens to follow. Please find them here, at the IPAK webpage
This program is a rights-preserving alternative to mandatory testing and reporting. Many people will resent mandatory testing with reporting and the loss of individuality and sense of autonomy – and for what? There is no need to infringe on the health privacy rights, and in-home private testing is the fastest way to get the largest number of people tested in the shortest period of time. Factories will be needed to construct the hundreds of millions of test kits needed.
A 100% VOLUNTARY reporting program can be established to which people report their results anonymously, online. While incentives are fine (coupons for more tests, for example), there must be no penalty for non-reporting.
Let’s work together with the lines of the laws that exist to protect our individual freedoms and liberties and do something that makes sense.
Because nothing else we’ve heard is based on science, logic or reason. The FDA EUAs of these tests only allow clinical testing. That may or may not change. But the Chief Executive of the US, President Trump, who oversees the HHS and the FDA, has given the nod to states to do as they please. Please include private testing as a welcome tool in our arsenal against COVID-19.
And please let me know if I may be service to you as a group in this endeavor.
James Lyons-Weiler, PhD
CEO, Director & President
The Institute for Pure and Applied Knowledge.