Coronavirus tests must be done ‘community by community’ before easing lockdown: Birx

Dr. Deborah Birx, a member of the White House’s coronavirus task force, said testing needs to get down to a “community by community” level to determine whether it’s safe to begin easing lock-downs and reopen businesses.

“What we’re trying to do is look at this in a very data-driven, granular scientific methodologies to predict community by community the testing that is needed,” Birx said Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

“At the same time, working with every laboratory director across the country that have these multiple platforms to really understand and find solutions for them on their issues related to supplies.”

“It needs to be down to the communities, so the communities can see what happens in their communities and make decisions with the local and health officials and the state officials, what can be opened and what needs to remain closed,” she continued.

The Trump administration last week announced guidelines for governors to determine when they can begin reopening their economies — with phase one coming after the number of coronavirus cases has declined for 14 days.

Noting that the US is experiencing a “series of small epidemics” in some areas, Birx acknowledged that each community “will have a different testing need.”

“Testing needs to be focused critically where you start to see early evidence, because no test is 100 percent specific and 100 percent sensitive,” Birx said.

“If you test and over test in areas where there isn’t virus, you can end up with false positives and false negatives. Each of these epidemics will have a different testing need and that’s what we’re calculating now.”

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