Having tested our citizens for Covid more than the rest of Europe combined, the fact that we are now running out of testing capacity just about sums up our national hysteria about this virus. Apparently, some people are even hoarding test kits in the same way that they hoarded loo paper back in March 2020.
Given that the symptoms of Covid are common to any number of ailments: cough, sore throat, headache, fever; it seems quite reasonable to take a Covid test if you experience any of them just to ensure that you do not go about spreading it to those susceptible to a more serious bout of the illness. The reality is however, that the tests are overwhelmingly being taken by people who have no symptoms at all. Even worse, we are imposing a huge administrative burden on the education system by requiring the mass testing of asymptomatic children.
This vast enterprise is costing a fortune, were we all to follow the government advice of testing twice per week, In England there are 56.3 million of us, that’s 104 tests annually, 6 billion for all of us put together. The tests come in at £5 each, which amounts to £30 billion per year.
Is this a sensible way to spend such a vast sum of money, (instead we might increase England’s NHS budget by fully 40%)?
In the USA, where they tend to be very cautious in medical matters, people who have had Covid can return to ordinary life after 5 days if they no longer have symptoms – there is no requirement for further testing. That is an example we could usefully follow.
Learning to live with Covid, if it means anything at all, must surely include behaving normally if we feel perfectly well and not fearing a bogey man around every corner.