Covid testing won’t save us, sticking to health protocols will – pathologist

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By Adia Wynter

Coronavirus testing isn’t a licence for the public to “shirk responsibility” for keeping themselves and others safe from the illness.

That was the word from Dr Lester Simon, consultant pathologist at Mount St John’s Medical Centre, who urged people to continue to adhere to health and safety protocols to prevent a false sense of security caused by the presence of Covid-19 tests.

He told a Ministry of Health press conference on Friday that more testing did not equate to better public safety.

“The testing is not going to save you… People are shirking their personal and collective responsibility and depending on a test to save them. It’s not going to happen,” he said.

Simon went further to liken the country’s response to the coronavirus pandemic to that of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

“It reminds me of the bad old days of HIV… You realise people are using the tests to determine their behaviour, so let’s get the situation right in terms of what our responsibilities are and what are the responsibilities of the government,” he noted.

On Observer radio yesterday, Simon addressed public calls for an increase in the amount of Covid-19 tests being done.

He said, “In terms of how many tests we need to do, every single person who has signs or symptoms suggestive of Covid-19 must be tested.”

He believes that the amount of testing currently being done needs to be increased, but cautioned against relying on that as the solution to the problem.

“A lot of people are pushing testing – quite rightly – but some of them are doing it to the extent that they think the testing is going to save them and that they can literally drop their masks as we do more tests,” he warned.

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