To the Editor:
All of us here in New Hampshire and the rest of the country are doing our best to push down the Covid-19 threat so that we can get back to our previous normal lives. However, it is important for our political leaders, the healthcare community and the business community to develop a strategy now to get there after the health threat subsides. Most professional medical experts and worldwide business leaders are already recognizing that a major component in any such strategy must be intensive and comprehensive Covid-19 testing and testing for Covid-19 antibodies.
We can assume that if a person has developed antibodies against Covid-19 (even without any symptoms for at least 14 days), that person is then immune from Covid-19 for at least some time (experts suggest, at least one year). If a national agency such as the CDC, with the help of the states, sets up a database to record everyone who has been tested for Covid-19 and for antibodies against that virus, it could be possible to start bringing back the economy. Individuals who have been tested Covid-19 free or who have the antibodies could return to jobs, together with other such employees, to resume work. This would require a large volume of testing, however; the higher the volume, the sooner we could resume normal economic activities. While those suffering from Covid-19 would be identified and properly treated, we would also know who has not yet been affected by the virus.
It is unrealistic to believe that without such extensive testing customers would return to stores and businesses, including doctor’s offices and hospitals, without the certainty that the entire staff has undergone testing and are not Covid-19 carriers. Such massive testing is being advocated by many health and economic professionals such as Dr. Paul Romer, World Bank economist and Nobel Prize recipient, and countries (e.g. Germany) have already begun such testing. In these countries, individuals who have been tested are being issued certificates as proof that will allow them to return to work.
It is clear that this is not the time to reduce the number of tests, in fact we need to accelerate that number.
For example, if the data that I have received is correct, while Maine CDC is currently doing 3,500 tests per day and planning to increase that number, New Hampshire is only performing approximately 500. Why?
Rep. Peter Somssich, District 27
34 Swett Ave. Portsmouth, N.H. 03801
tel. 603-436-5382 (h)
Why, indeed. Perhaps there are more parallels between our Governor and President than a thirst for the limelight. Incompetence, for example.