Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Testing, Testing

From the Miami Herald editorial page:

Thousands of people in Miami-Dade lined up at their nearest local library on Monday morning.

The libraries were giving away the latest bestsellers — not books this time, but free at-home COVID-19 test kits. And by the end of the day, about 90,000 tests had been distributed. It was the county’s next smart move to try to control the spread of omicron. By 9:30 a.m., it appeared most library branches were out of their tests kits.

It’s a sign of the times. Omicron has dragged us back to the testing lines of more than a year ago, before the first vaccines emerged. It’s like starting all over.

This fast-moving variant’s impact on the community differs from the delta variant, which proved to be a ruthless killer of the unvaccinated.

Omicron shows up with flu-like symptoms that spread incredibly fast, from restaurant staffs, to football players, to airline workers. Many more people appear to be positive, but fewer will die — maybe. And the unkindest cut? Omicron has come after the vaxxed and boosted.

The need for testing, which had almost disappeared before Thanksgiving, is back in full force. The testing kits offer an alternative to the long lines that again snake around places like Tropical Park, as local pharmacies have also sold out.

Libraries became distribution centers. On Monday, Coconut Grove Branch Library handed out its supply of tests kits before the library was set to open at 9:30 a.m., the Miami Herald reported.

At the busy West Kendall Regional Library, a long line of about 150 people stretched from the front door to the sidewalk. Kits were quickly depleted.

We ask Mayor Daniella Levine Cava to keep the test kits coming — if they can be found. She’s consistently taken the lead in keeping the community safe, despite the challenging headwinds blowing in from Tallahassee.

But we also urge President Joe Biden to quickly fulfill his promise, made just before Christmas, that the federal government will buy half a billion COVID-19 rapid test kits and distribute them free of charge for people to use at home.

But that won’t happen tomorrow, and we commend the county for handing out test kits when they’re most needed.

A week from now the schools will have re-opened.  My school is trying to order test kits.  We shall see what happens, knowing that we can’t count on the state to do anything; they’re too busy fighting for “freedom.”

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