Sen. Wells: Prioritize Random Sample Testing. No Data Set is More Important.

“We need data so government makes the right call, right now”

Raleigh, N.C. — Senator Andy Wells (R-Catawba) issued the below statement regarding the lack of reliable COVID-19 data:

“Governments are making decisions that impact public health and the overall economy. Those decisions require accurate and adequate data.

“A move to shut down the entire economy feels like a step off the cliff, and we need to know if it’s the right decision before we do it. It may be that a full economic shutdown is the right call. Or it may be that more targeted mitigation strategies can be as effective without precipitating a global depression.

“We need more data to know the answer, and we need it now. Random sampling is a proven method of accurately measuring large populations and has been utilized for decades to inform all manner of decisions in both public and private spheres.

“A random sample of North Carolinians will help us know how prevalent the virus is and what are the true medical facility needs and virus fatality numbers. After that, additional random sample antibody tests must be given to estimate how many people have already had the virus.

“This is the only data that can properly inform decisions moving forward. People are losing their livelihoods and their futures every minute. We need data so government makes the right call, right now.

“No data set is more important than this one. It should be prioritized immediately, above all else.

“Further, we propose opening the data, once received, to the national medical community so we can get all available input on the analysis and what it means.”

What others are saying:

“For now, testing priority should go to…surveillance to estimate the prevalence of mild infection in the community.”Marc Lipsitch, professor of epidemiology and the director of the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

“The most valuable piece of information for answering those questions would be to know the current prevalence of the infection in a random sample of a population…” — Dr. John Ioannidis, professor of medicine and professor of epidemiology and population health, co-director of the Meta-Research Innovation Center at Stanford (METRICS) at Stanford University. Dr. Ioannidis is one of the most-cited scientists in the world.

“But we also need to be asking ourselves — just as urgently — can we more surgically minimize the threat of this virus to those most vulnerable while we maximize the chances for as many Americans as possible to safely go back to work as soon as possible.”Thomas Friedman

“During the worst of the Great Depression, 25 percent of the labor force was out of work. Several days ago, on March 17, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin warned Congress that the unemployment rate could soon reach 20 percent…To protect our way of life, we need to shift within a couple of months to a targeted approach that limits the spread of the virus but still lets most people go back to work and resume their daily activities.”Paul M. Romer, who received the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2018, and Alan M. Garber, a physician and economist who is the provost of Harvard University.