The staff of Food Safety News has always worked remotely across several time zones.  Social distancing is second nature to this crew.

Since late February, myself and my law firm has successfully transitioned from in office work and world travel to home offices and Zoom and phone speeches, court hearings, mediations and depositions.

Although we think ourselves self-important – at least to our clients and our small part of the civil justice system – we really are a very, very small part of a functioning society.

Clearly, we all agree that front-line people in the military, police and fire have always been honored as “first responders.” Now, we rightly honor EMTs, Doctors, Nurses and other health care professionals, as well as bus drivers, transit workers, mail carriers, UPS, Fed-Ex drivers and grocery store workers, as those on the front line.

As I am thinking of planning to bring people back to the Marler Clark office in the next thirty days, I realize that despite our most rigorous efforts of social distancing and handwashing, we are blind without coronavirus – COVID-19 – SARS-CoV-2 testing – either acute or antibody testing.

We could have the best policies in place, but without knowing who has been sick, who is sick and who is just simply shedding the coronavirus, we really know nothing.

And, for “essential workers,” the lack of real-time testing must be a nightmare.

In a recent NEJM article, the stark contrast of what we do not know – who is sick and who has been sick.

Here are some “highlights” from the article and our state of ill-preparedness:

  • High level of SARS-CoV-2 shedding in the upper respiratory tract – means in is more easily transmissible via a cough or a sneeze.
  • Pre-symptomatic patients, infected and are shedding virus, do not show symptoms for about 5 days (peak median) – So, seemingly well people may be shedding the virus without knowing it.

We need testing – real-time testing – that helps all employers make the kind of decisions that enable the work environment “open up” in a way that is healthful for both our people and our economy.

So, where in the hell is the testing?