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We Must Test, and Do It Differently, to Re-open the Nation

This week at  “Re-Opening the Nation: What Values Should Guide Us?” — an online Hastings Conversation, experts said the Covid-19 pandemic posed two interconnected existential threats: to our health and to our economy, both of which require that we dramatically gear up in a war-like footing to contain the virus. Massively ramped up testing is the key–at a rate of 2 million per day, according to Danielle Allen, director of Harvard’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics; Ezekiel Emanuel, Vice Provost for Global Initiatives at the University of Pennsylvania who is a Hastings Center fellow; and Mildred Solomon, president of The Hastings Center. What’s more, the panelists said, the current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, which call for testing those with symptoms, are wrong-headed. We must test asymptomatic people in order to identify those who are spreading it and ask them to isolate themselves. More than 1,400 people from around the world watched The Hastings Center event live and posed questions to the panelists. The discussion also addressed guarding the privacy of data from testing and contact tracing, and values such as solidarity in addressing the outsized harms that people of color, hourly workers, and frontline health care providers are experiencing. Watch the video.