COVID test mysteries

There are aspects of the UK’s Track & Trace [or Trick or Treat, as we like to call it] system that make sense, but I am mystified by aspects of the testing process. [And don’t get me started on the subject of what it all costs!]

As I understand it, most people are supposed to take a Lateral Flow [LF] test twice a week and report the result. If there is a positive response, you go on to have a PVR test and isolate according to instructions. This is fine so far. The mysteries are around acquiring the tests and reporting results.

We are very lucky here because, at present [this will change soon] we can get LF test kits for free. There are various places that you can pick them up or order online for delivery. Many other countries require the kits to be purchased. The odd thing is that the kits contain 7 tests. Why 7? I would have trouble thinking of a more inconvenient number. It means that an individual can do 3½ weeks of testing. A couple does a week of testing and has 3 tests left over.  Packs of 4, 6, 8 or - best of all - 12 would make much more sense. There must be an answer to the “Why 7” question and the only one I can think of is that , at some time, the kit was designed for someone to do daily tests for a week.

You are supposed to report both positive and negative results as this shows what the infection rates are and how testing is being effective. The Track & Trace folks have been complaining that many kits seem to be going to waste, as only a small proportion of those shipped have resulted in a report back. They are looking at it back to front. Most people just do the test and simply can’t be bothered to report the result. Part of this is the reporting system is so clunky and time consuming. It always amuses me that, when I report my result, I get an email and a text telling me the result of the test that I just reported to them!