Monday, May 4, 2020

Maine's reopening plan not backed by big enough testing regime, experts say

On Friday, Maine took the first cautious steps toward loosening restrictions that slowed the growth of the coronavirus here, protecting hospitals from being overwhelmed. The four-phase plan opens many parts of our economy between now and August.

But experts say the scale of testing the state is intending on deploying is far too small to ensure success -- like maybe thirty times too small -- and say its likely to doom the state to have to keep opening and shutting, as asymptomatic carriers will spread it in many settings.

I have the story in this week's Maine Sunday Telegram, and also online here.

As an aside: the Press Herald's subscriptions and viewership have dramatically surged during this crisis, but the pandemic is battering newspapers around the country as the pandemic closes advertisers' businesses, theaters, and venues. The paper provides pandemic coverage free of charge, but if you value it and can afford to, please subscribe or even donate (tax deductible through this mechanism) so it can continue to provide it.

[Update, 5/17/20: The testing regime remains too small, experts say, despite a doubling of the state lab's capacity through a partnership with veterinary medical manufacturer IDEXX.]

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