Recently, the number of Americans seeking Fit to Fly testing for Covid-19 has reduced, according to experts. Immediate and accurate testing is still necessary for isolating people with Covid-19 infections. Most of the countries now require a travel passport test to enter their territory.

Widespread testing helps to limit the spread of the virus and any of its variants as they emerge. After the second and third wave of coronavirus, it is more important to increase the tests. Although many vaccines have been developed, the threat of infection persists. Especially for people who frequently visit other countries, travel passport test and vaccinations are inevitable.

Romney M. Humphries asserts during a media briefing that even though it feels as though the virus is gradually fading away, we still need to undergo tests. “If we don’t get tested, we don’t know how much infection is there”, he added. PCR test is the most accurate test to detect infection.

Even though the infection rates have reduced compared to a few months ago, they are still high, as disclosed by Mary K. Hayden during a briefing. According to the director of the IDSA fellow, rates of the virus remain higher in some areas than they were during summer 2020.

“We still see a good amount of infection, and I don’t think we’re at a place yet where we can relax our overall strategies and reduce testing”, Hayden said.

Why is Testing Essential?

Even though the number of people going for tests reduces, “are we truly seeing a reduction in cases?” Humphries asked. Testing will allow public health officials to track variants of interest and variants of concern and know the success of vaccination and protection from prior infection, she added. People with comorbidity like diabetes and heart problems are the high-risk groups.

The fact remains that people with symptoms similar to that of COVID-19 should seek a PCR test. An accurate and quick diagnosis can promote appropriate treatment and help protect close contacts.

In terms of society, testing is the most accurate way to determine how much coronavirus circulates in a given community. This will help to designated resources and changes to quarantine requirements. Travel passport test can help to spread COVID-19 in any country.

Testing gives a clue.

Due to the high volume of testing, governments were able to decide the spread of the virus. Thus the data helped them to allocate resources to the affected areas. Governments were able to detect and quarantine an infected area quickly. PCR test that helps to detect the virus accurately were made more accessible.

These tests helped determine people fit to fly. This further helped to control the spread of the virus to new regions.

Another essential aspect of testing is to detect the strain of the virus. Coronavirus is one of the most mutating viruses. Within 10 months of the pandemic, this virus mutated many times. New strains have been detected. Some strains infect sensory organs like ears and taste buds more.  Extensive testing has helped nations to evolve better strategies against these strains.

Does Money Discourage People From Getting Covid tests?

Experts agree that the $25 or more for at-home tests could be a barrier for some people to get tested. “I do think the price point is a challenge. Realistically getting that price point down to a shallow level is going to be a difficult challenge,” Humphries said. People with diabetes and heart problems were already under pressure.

Unfortunately, the community that are affected the most are poor.  They cannot afford to buy a home test kit.

Let’s assume the COVID-19 testing was more widespread and accessible. Humphries said there are other concerns. “One of the challenges that we’re faced with is that there’s been a lot of movement away from some of the essential control strategies that have been used to mitigate this pandemic.”

Some cities are opening public spaces to full capacity. Some regions have removed the condition of mandatory mask in public. Schools and colleges are open in some parts of the world. And all this is creating an illusion that the pandemic is over. Although it is not so, people must follow basic safety guidelines. Testing can detect the virus accurately, but it cannot stop it from spreading.

A proper mask, washing your hands regularly, keeping social distance and staying home can help. But, after a year of pandemic, it seems that people are less afraid or concerned. This can be dangerous.

At-Home Testing

Several at-home tests for coronavirus infection available under FDA emergency use authorization could help increase the figure.  Various available testing methods may help “really get a lot of testing done,” Hayden said. Although some data suggest, point-of-care testing is not as accurate as in-lab tests. But again, there may be other benefits that surpass those, especially for people suffering from diabetes, hypertension or other comorbidities. These people need to monitor things frequently.

Federal or state testing sites report the results without bias. But, personal or in-home testing can go unreported. Another major drawback is the procedure of testing. These in-house kits are not accurate and require some basic skills to use them. Not every person has those skill or understanding of the procedure.  Furthermore, to get a fit to fly test, a person will have to visit an authentic lab. The at-home tests cannot help in that.

Connecting at-home test results to a health care provider could promote treatment and counselling of people based on their results. At-home testing also could involve genomic sequencing of samples to detect and track new virus variants. Most commercial and state laboratories often have sufficient samples remaining after testing to further test for interest variants.

“The reality is that getting those samples from people who were positive at home is pretty improbable,” Humphries said.

Hayden says that the sequencing of samples for variants is important. At the same time, we cannot sequence every sample to track the spread of new variants.