“No testing scheme, no take a look at is ideal. There’ll all the time be individuals who go undetected,” mentioned Dr. David Dowdy, an infectious illness epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins College who has researched and written about herd immunity. “One of the best ways to guard essentially the most susceptible is to scale back the quantity of virus that’s within the inhabitants that may get by all of these testing schemes and trigger destruction.”
Dr. Atlas’s place has been challenged by medical advisers round him who’ve backgrounds in infectious illness response, revealing a major rift within the White Home over the best method. Dr. Deborah L. Birx, the White Home’s coronavirus response coordinator, has pushed for aggressive, broad testing even amongst younger and wholesome folks, typically clashing with Dr. Atlas in conferences.
“I might all the time be comfortable if we had one hundred pc of scholars examined weekly,” Dr. Birx said on Wednesday in an look at Penn State College, “as a result of I believe testing adjustments habits.”
Dr. Atlas at one level influenced the administration’s efforts to install new Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention steering that mentioned it was not needed to check folks with out signs of Covid-19 even when they’d been uncovered to the virus, upsetting Dr. Birx and Dr. Robert R. Redfield, the C.D.C. director.
The administration’s efforts to fund federal and state testing have lengthy been fraught. In July, as administration officers and prime Senate Republicans clashed over the contours of their preliminary $1 trillion proposal, the White Home initially balked at providing billions of dollars to fund coronavirus testing and assist federal well being businesses.
For the reason that early days of the pandemic, Mr. Romer has argued for a wide-scale testing program, costing as a lot as $100 billion. He had hoped to influence Dr. Atlas that if officers might rapidly determine and isolate folks carrying the virus, they might gradual its unfold and permit regular financial exercise to renew extra rapidly.
In his e mail, despatched to Dr. Atlas’s private account, Mr. Romer proposed further testing and isolation efforts that might permit way more Individuals to return to work and purchasing, producing financial exercise that may be 10 or 100 occasions bigger than the price of the testing program itself.