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We don't have enough testing capacity for the winter

(6 Posts)
MagicalThinking Sun 06-Sep-20 13:16:45

The government has told us it is safe to go back to school and the office because we now have a functional test and trace system in place.

However, its glaringly obvious that there is not enough testing capacity. There are already lots of stories on here from people who are struggling to get a test.

Let's assume the average person will need to be tested twice over the next six months of cold and flu season. (I'm being generous here and think this is likely to be an underestimate).

The population of the UK is approximately 68 million.

That means we need 136 million tests over the next 6 months.

Or about three quarters of a million tests a day.

This assumes that demand will be steady over the next six months but it will probably peak in December and January and we would need more like 1 million tests a day.

Current testing capability is said to be 200 - 250,000 per day so we need to triple or quadruple capacity for the winter.

It's vital that there is enough capacity over the winter so we can identify who has coronavirus and who has normal respiratory illnesses. Without this people will be isolating unnecessarily for days, parents will have to be off school looking after ill children and people will ignore guidance because they can't afford to take time off. More importantly, we need to identify where the true cases of coronavirus are quickly to prevent us being back in the same situation as we were in March and April.

OP’s posts: |
Deelish75 Sun 06-Sep-20 13:39:30

I was listening to the radio a couple of weeks ago and heard a report that the government were aiming for 1million per day. I’ve googled it since but haven’t been able to find anything.

I do think you’re right, we don’t have enough testing capacity at the moment - early September. My DP booked a test last night and the nearest he could get was 125 miles away, he’s gone because we need to know (one child went back to school last week, other child goes back this week and they’ve missed enough school). We couldn’t get a postal test. I have heard that new slots get released at 8am every morning and also heard that slots are getting released all the time and you’ve just got to keep refreshing the page keeping your fingers crossed. The whole thing is ridiculous and it’s going to get worse.

I have emailed my (Tory) MP this morning asking what the government is going to do to increase capacity in my area but not had a response - I suspect I won’t as it’s not a photo opportunity for him hmm.

Bexicles83 Sun 06-Sep-20 14:20:48

I am now on day 4 of waiting for results from a test which I had to drive 40 miles for.

Result turnaround is also affected, I too have emailed my (Tory) MP this morning as I’m just so bloody angry

Bol87 Sun 06-Sep-20 14:27:35

I think it depends where you are at the mo. My in-law easily booked a test on Thursday evening for Friday morning & results in 25 hours.. we are in an area with higher cases so I’ve wondered if we’ve increased capacity up here.

But I do agree, we need to try and differentiate between colds & covid! My GP is adamant we shouldn’t be testing kids who are really snotty only as Covid presents quite ‘dry’. Dry cough, minimal snot. Coughs that are very productive or clearly related to excess snot are very unlikely to be Covid..

MummaPI Sun 06-Sep-20 14:50:42

But thats just it, we cant make a guess whether its a cold or covid because its not totally clear how it affects people. I've heard of people who have cold symptoms, stomach symptoms and no symptoms! If in doubt, test

Augustbreeze Sun 06-Sep-20 14:59:33

I agree, OP.

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