Experts say that it’s still important to get tested, even if you’re vaccinated.
Even as more people in the world are getting vaccinated for COVID-19, fewer people are getting tested for the novel coronavirus. The reason for the drop-off in COVID-19 testing is complicated.
But experts say one thing remains clear: Now is not the time to slack off on measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including getting tested if you’ve been exposed to someone who’s sick or you’re feeling ill yourself. Even as testing capacity has risen significantly, the number of new COVID-19 tests administered has fallen drastically over the past 2 months, More than 363 million COVID-19 tests have been conducted since the pandemic began 1 year ago.
However, after peaking in January, confirmed COVID-19 cases and hospital admissions have been declining. And while testing numbers vary from day to day, the overall trend has been downward.
Fewer cases, less testing
The 30-percent drop-off in COVID-19 testing since January is “primarily because the epidemic is ebbing, with an overall decline of weekly cases by some 80 percent since January.Most individuals are tested because of signs and symptoms of a respiratory tract infection. Wearing masks, regular hand hygiene, and social distancing clearly reduce transmission and have also led to a decline in other seasonal respiratory tract infections, amplifying the decrease.”
Less worry, fewer tests
People who’ve been vaccinated also may be less likely to get tested, even though researchers are unsure whether vaccinated individuals can continue to pass the novel coronavirus.With COVID-19 infection, hospitalizations, and death rates declining, perception of the risk of coronavirus infection also may be fading, which in turn can lead to less demand for testing.
The combination of increased vaccination and the population of people who already have immunity due to past COVID-19 infection also could play a role in the decline in testing.One thing that probably isn’t causing fewer people to seek COVID-19 tests is cost, since nearly all COVID-19 testing is offered free of charge or paid for via health insurance.Bottom of Form
Plenty of reasons to get tested
Regardless of vaccination availability and total number of COVID-19 cases, people who exhibit symptoms consistent with novel coronavirus infection — cough, fever, congestion, fatigue, headache, loss of sense of smell, to name a few — should continue to get tested.
The same is true for those who suspect that they’ve been exposed to someone with the disease, even if they themselves have been vaccinated or previously had COVID-19, experts say.Testing is important for two reasons. It warns the individual person, and it provides surveillance that allows us to find out what we can do about the disease from a public health perspective.
This is even more crucial with the new, possibly more contagious variants of the coronavirus now spreading rapidly. Testing will also continue to be a vital epidemiological tool, even as the disease goes from uncontrolled community spread to isolated outbreaks.
Testing is still an indicator of where the disease is and where it is going .To be the safest, though, if members of your household are unvaccinated, experts advise against maskless indoor meetings.That’s because it’s not understood yet if people who are vaccinated can still spread t