The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Two Years Later … Still No Tests!

Jan 3, 2022

As the omicron wave spreads, we are supposed to get tested before we see older relatives or gather for the holidays. We’re supposed to get tested if we’re exposed to the virus at work. Many schools are requiring students get a negative test result before they can go back from the holidays.

Testing the population makes sense. Except, of course, there are no tests available.

Every CVS and Walgreens has a sign—sold out of at-home tests. Try to order one on the internet—and the estimated delivery time is in a month or two. Biden promised to deliver 500 million rapid tests for free—but that comes to less than two tests per person, not nearly enough for people who have to go to work or school every day. And right now, none of those tests are available.

If you have four hours to kill, you might be able to get a test at a walk-up testing site—but you also might get COVID waiting with other people who could have been exposed!

One example of how ineffective and uncoordinated testing is right now: Chicago Public Schools sent home 150,000 at-home tests for students to take on December 28, with prepaid FedEx shipping. But when tens of thousands of people tried to drop off the tests at once, every FedEx box in the city was soon overflowing, with test kits scattered across the ground. Nobody seems to have thought of that….

As soon as COVID appeared, every public health scientist in the world pointed out that to control an infectious disease, the first step is to be able to test, to see who has it. It’s really just common sense. Yet two years later, this capitalist society hasn’t even been able to take step one.