The COVID-19 threat is not over yet. The new deadly variants have wreaked havoc in the US. By March, the situation is predicted to get worse. The ongoing situation continues to take a toll on healthcare workers nationwide.
The lab officials cannot disclose to the patient or their doctor whether they are infected by a new variant or not, due to federal law.
The issue is that the tests which are being conducted to detect the new COVID-19 variants are still pending approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
As the approval remains pending, the tests being conducted will be used only for genomic sequencing for now, and the results will not be communicated to the infected person or the doctor.
This has created a lot of chaos and confusion among public health officials who are literally clueless about the intensity of the virus spread of a particular strain in a county. They know it’s there but can’t do anything to curtail the spread.
Janet Hamilton, Executive Director of the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists has claimed that no measures can be taken to slow down the spread as it is unknown whether the person is at high-risk or only asymptomatic.
Hamilton has asked the concerned authorities to relax the rules as the time is running out, and it is very crucial to know the information about the COVID-19 variants, otherwise, it will get out of control. The federal government has been warned that if the information of the variants spread is not shared with the public health labs and epidemiologists, this would really hamper all their efforts to eradicate the deadly virus from the country.
Up till now, approximately 2000 cases of the B.1.1.7 variant have been reported in 45 states. Earlier, the public health officials had exclaimed that the test results are not being communicated with the providers because they are conducted for genome sequencing only. This practice is only for surveillance purposes, and still needs approval by the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments programs.
As of now, it is the patients and their respective doctors who remain in the dark. The virus spread will only intensify if the public does not know the risks related to a new strain.