Mandatory RAT reports another sign of the lack of a workable plan

The introduction of mandatory reporting of rapid antigen test results in Australia is ridiculous, full of holes and will result in misleading data being compiled, states Madonna King.

The mandatory self-reporting of home COVID tests required by our state governments can be the start of an innovative DIY detection scheme that we should all encourage.

After all, why stop at RAT results?

Why do not we drive ourselves too hard? Or double parking? Or self-report every time we put our recyclables in the wrong bin? Or jaywalk?

In a litany of absurdities as the COVID story weaves its way through the 2020s, the report-your-own-result of a test your luck will find is at the top of the list.

And it points to two undisputed factors.

First, government incompetence and the lack of real innovation mean that the job falls back on the rest of us, especially those who may be sick and suffering.

And secondly, the idea is so ridiculous, it’s almost funny. It is full of holes, can not be implemented – and ministers admit it – and leads to misleading data results.

How can you upload a result if you do not have access to a RAT?

You can not. And so that large cohort of people is ignored in the results published every day.

These are also the ones who do the test and ignore those mandatory and unenforceable rules to tell the government about it.

Another cohort – and this concerns health officials – is also missing in any statistical analysis, and that’s because they do not see the relevance of a home test that does little more than fear.

“It does not change the treatment,” says one medical professional. “So why bother?”

Their view is widely reflected and carries an uncomfortable truth.

With symptoms of COVID-19, should we really drive from pharmacy to supermarket to try to take a test? Or should we stay home, with limited contact until the disease – COVID or a cold or stomach flu – passes?

Confidence in this test – if it does not change the outcome of the disease – becomes fantasy, with some suppliers now wanting buyers to return negative RATs before they are allowed in open house inspections.

The black market in their sales is also well underway, with desperate parents pleading on Facebook pages that they will pay what is needed to secure a test for their children.

But why?

If they are really sick, then is not the advice to take them to the nearest hospital or call an ambulance?

And if they have a little sniff, then we are not told to see them, give them water and do what we would in the flu season, to bring them back to full health soon.

How will a rapid antigen test, if uploading the result, change this treatment?

It is not. And the RAT-mandated self-report is just another example of our leaders gripping straw because they have no workable plan to counter a daily count that continues to climb.

Why even propose for mandatory self-reporting when they admit at the same time that it is untenable? What can they hope to achieve?

If this catastrophe of COVID passes – and it will – what should be mandatory, is an in-depth investigation of how our state and federal leaders are dealing with this pandemic.

What worked? And what not?

Sure, the value of research to find a vaccine should soon be recognized and applauded.

The same goes for the tests, developed rapidly, to diagnose the virus (even if approval remains for at least one test in-house in some in-box in Canberra).

But the role of our leaders also needs to be explored.

What could they do better next time? What kind of public policy planning would have made the burden of those who are separated from families, or just fighting an illness, at home easier?

We also need to make sure that these results are reported ourselves – because this is a DIY gambling scheme that may just turn out to be beneficial.

This column was first published in The New Daily. Read the original article here.

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