The importance of testing
Testing is our window onto the pandemic and how it is spreading. Without testing we have no way of understanding the pandemic.
It is one of our most important tools in the fight to slow and reduce the spread and impact of the virus. Tests allow us to identify infected individuals, guiding the medical treatment that they receive. It enables the isolation of those infected and the tracing and quarantining of their contacts.3 And it can help allocate medical resources and staff more efficiently.4
In addition, testing for COVID-19 also informs our understanding of the pandemic and the risks it poses in different populations.
This knowledge is important if we are to properly assess the interventions that should be implemented, including very costly interventions such as social distancing and the shutdown of entire regions and industries.