Apart from imposing lockdowns, another step touted by the World Health Organisation to stem the further spread of coronavirus disease is vigorous testing. While most countries are still battling with limited test kits for COVID-19, a small town in northern California has become one of the first communities in the United States to test every resident. According to an international media outlet, Bolinas wants to ‘demonstrate a model for widespread testing’ in a bid to help other cities and communities to follow the same method. The town raised over $300,000 through online donations and bought testing equipment and tents. The town is unincorporated, with a population of less than 2,000 resorted to the personal resources of the residents for the entire initiative.
As of April 23, in the most virus-stricken country, the United States, over 47,600 people have died of coronavirus disease and 849,092 have been infected. Amid these ‘bleak times’, the small town has reportedly pledged to make virus testing available and free for all its community members by establishing a drive-thru testing site. Even though it is voluntary, Bolinas has become one of the first places to start an initiative of comprehensive testing and also detect antibodies among people.
Moreover, over 700 people have been tested across the town in just two days since the testing started on April 20. The venture’s capitalist, Jyri Engeström and pharmaceutical executive Cyrus Harmon had reportedly used their acquaintances to get in touch with the scientists at the University of California, San Franciso, and invited the researchers to set up a study in their town. Bolinas is one of the two communities that will constitute the university study. have A similar testing mission is also taking place in a more densely populated, Mission District, which when combined with the one initiated in Bolinas would reportedly help researchers to understand the spread of coronavirus through rural and urban communities.
Earlier, an official from the United Nations health agency had said that in order to combat the deadly coronavirus outbreak, just lockdowns are “not enough”. This comes as the fatal virus has now spread to over 200 countries and the global infection count has crossed a million, which has prompted major cities to go under lockdown. The leaders have viewed social distancing as the most effective way to tackle the pandemic. However, Dr Mike Ryan said that countries should instead focus on “finding who is sick” and then “isolate them”.