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Old 03-22-2020, 12:00 PM
Dr_Paprika is offline
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: South of Toronto, Canada
Posts: 4,535
South Korea, I think, tested 200,000 or so people out of a population of fifty million? The numbers may be slightly off, but that is still 0.4%. It’s impressive. It’s in a fairly homogenous and autocratic country. It’s more tests than others have done. But hardly everyone.

Singapore is a very small and autocratic country with a highly paid and competent government. They have also done better than most. But it may be hard to scale their successes.

It is still unknown how contagious people with mild symptoms really are. It may be that mild cases can spread the virus to 2-3 other people. These other people may have serious reactions to the virus, leading to death. If you have mild symptoms and are self-isolating, testing is less important. If you have coronavirus, but it seems like a cold or has no symptoms at all, and are going to work and not strictly isolating (since you don’t know you need to), you can put others at risk.

The first reason for testing is it would give us the data to make better decisions. The second is that if you knew you were isolating most of the positive cases than you could possibly relax distancing measures sooner and for people not exposed.

A lot of people with no or mild symptoms may not be “basically in quarantine”. But if testing is limited, you are right that quarantine for mild possibles and priority tests for severe cases is a better strategy.
"A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man"