What We're Reading: Emerging Testing Capabilities; Contact Tracing Difficulties; Survey Finds Lack of Social Distancing in All Ages

July 7, 2020

Several novel tests for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) are currently being manufactured, which aim to ameliorate the lag time between testing and results; health expert says that it is currently not possible to conduct contact tracing in Southern states amid the resurgence of COVID-19 cases; survey finds people older than 60 years were no more willing to adhere to social isolation and other preventive measures than younger people.

Emerging Technologies in the Coronavirus Test Pipeline

Reported by The New York Times, several novel tests for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) are currently being manufactured, including ones using the gene-editing tool CRISPR, that can spot the virus in less than an hour. Moreover, many of these tests seek to ameliorate the lag time between testing and results, as well as reduce the need for onerous amounts of equipment or trained personnel. As several available point-of-care devices have proven inaccurate, the new tests were noted by researchers to potentially yield more reliable results. However, most of these novel tests are still in their early stages and will not be available in clinics for months.

Health Expert Says Contact Tracing No Longer Possible in Southern States

Amid the resurgence of COVID-19 cases nationwide, especially across Southern states, health expert Peter Hotez, MD, PhD, dean of tropical medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, told CNN that it is currently not possible to conduct contact tracing. So far, cases have risen in at least 31 states, with only 4 states having seen improvements since last week. To address these rising rates, 35 states, along with Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico, now require face coverings in public.

Survey Finds Both Young, Older People Unwilling to Isolate

According to survey findings published in PLOS One, people older than 60 years were found to be no more willing to adhere to social isolation and other preventive measures than younger people, despite their increased risk of severe COVID-19 outcomes. Reported by CIDRAP, the survey polled 72,417 adults in 27 countries, including the United States. Although a prior US study indicated that older Americans perceive the pandemic as a significant crisis, survey findings suggest a decreasing compliance to wearing masks for age groups ranging from age 20 to 80 years.