Emed sells proctored Covid-19 tests for travel to the U.S. at 6 for $150 plus shipping. Unsurprisingly, they believe that a requirement for passengers to test prior to flying to the U.S. needs to remain in place.
‘Now is the time to continue these measures’
As the CEO of testing company eMed, Patrice Harris believes strongly that testing along with mitigation measures such as vaccinations and masks will allow people to continue to gather and travel. She said she has highlighted the importance of testing since the beginning of the pandemic, when she was president of the American Medical Association.
Testing will remain useful for diagnostics (if you catch Covid-19, knowing you have it can lead to early treatment with drugs like monoclonal antibodies or small molecule inhibitors, preventing hospitalization). And testing in congregant settings for the elderly and infirm may remain important as well. However testing is unlikely to make sense for the majority of people on an ongoing basis. This would have been a crucial tool before vaccines and current treatments, and before there was widespread immunity in the population from prior infection by the current dominant strain and those similar to it.
But with hospitals no longer overwhelmed and with better treatments available, there’s little reason to test for Covid-19 prior to travel (and, by the way, for few other settings). Pre-travel testing did not stop the introduction of variants into the U.S., and it doesn’t ‘keep the virus out’ since it’s already here and seemingly endemic. Of course the administration rolled out its program to send tests to American homes right as it was on the cusp of no longer being useful.
Eliminating the testing requirement is politically awkward, and fear of foreigners remains more popular than masks in swing districts. That’s why a transportation mask requirement stands a greater chance of being lifted before a testing requirement for international arrivals.