Universal COVID-19 Testing
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Mr Prime Minister,
Canadians across the country are concerned for their children, their grandchildren, their parents, their grandparents, their neighbours. I am concerned about the future of our country.
The epidemic sweeping across our nation threatens the lives and livelihoods of millions of Canadians, including our long-term and collective prosperity.
I have a simple message for you. Take bold and immediate action to significantly increase COVID-19 testing capacity by several orders of magnitude. I ask that you secure 10 million tests as well as additional equipment necessary to carry out these tests at distributed drive-thru locations across the country.
"You cannot fight a fire blindfolded," says the Director-General of the World Health Organization. How then can we allow our doctors and health care workers across the country to remain blindfolded? How can we allow asymptomatic carriers of the virus to stay ignorant of their status?
We know of shining examples around the world, whether in a nation like South Korea or the small town of Vò, Italy where officials tested every resident regardless of symptoms and effectively halted the spread of the virus in its tracks. We know that comprehensive and unrestricted access to testing works.
I am sure that many applaud the support given to Canadian companies in building testing solutions here at home. However, at this moment, we do NOT have the luxury of delaying weeks or months to roll out the capacity needed to overtake the exponential spread of COVID-19.
We must look to international equipment manufacturers and import necessary test-kits and technology to begin comprehensive testing immediately. Let us show our American neighbours that we will not refuse any help from any nation when it comes to saving Canadian lives.
The Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics provides sufficient resources for you to direct your Minister of Public Works and Procurement to procure from other nations the necessary testing kits and equipment needed in this monumental endeavour.
For the peace, order and good government of Canada, cut through the red tape and expeditiously acquire and import independently-validated equipment needed to increase our testing capacity to 100,000 tests per day. This is how we get ahead of the curve.
It should not be necessary to think of money when lives are at risk. But when you realize that the cost of rolling out this plan is less than 10% of the value of goods and services which our country produces in a single day*, it becomes even more evident that bold and immediate action is needed.
Mr Prime Minister, this is your "just watch me" moment. Canadians are watching just how far you will go to protect our collective prosperity, the livelihoods of millions of Canadians and the health and well-being of the most vulnerable among us.
* Canada's annual GDP is $1.9 trillion. That is $5.2 billion per day. If self-isolation is responsible for even a 10% drop in our GDP, that equates to approximately $500 million each day.
* Actual quotation from an independently-validated international manufacturer of COVID-19 test kits puts the cost of 10 million tests at approximately $50 million
Number of confirmed cases on March 29: 5,655
With an average growth rate of 25% day over day, one month from now, there may be as many as 4 million confirmed cases.
With current national capacity of 10,000 tests per day, it would take more than 480 days to test the number of people that may be infected in just 30 days.
The cost of infected, asymptomatic and undiagnosed carriers of the virus is enormous, in human lives as well as the toll it will have on our health care system.
The need for universal testing and an increase of testing capacity is NOW!
Spread this knowledge faster than the virus itself.
Pick 5 people and "infect" them with this knowledge.
Demand that we bring universal access to COVID-19 testing in Canada so that we can save countless lives and get Canadians back to work quicker.
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South Korea "flattening the curve" through "Testing, Testing, Testing"
"Coronavirus testing experiment in Italian town may have wiped out illness"
"Ottawa’s Spartan Bioscience is weeks away from producing a mobile, hand-held testing kit that can tell people quickly if they have COVID-19."
Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics
WHO Director-General on 20 March 2020:
"To support our call to test every suspected case, we are also working hard to increase the global supply of diagnostic tests. There are many companies globally that produce diagnostic kits, but WHO can only buy or recommend kits that have been evaluated independently, to ensure their quality. So we have worked with FIND – the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics – to contract additional labs to evaluate new diagnostics."
Short list of companies that provide COVID-19 testing kits and equipment:
- Biomeme (Philadelphia, United States)
- BIONEER Corporation (Daejeon, South Korea)
- QIAGEN GmbH (Hilden, Germany)
- Randox Laboratories Ltd (County Atrim, United Kingdom)
- Seegene, Inc. (Seoul, South Korea)
Larger list found at: https://www.finddx.org/covid-19/pipeline/
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