Go to main navigation Navigation menu Skip navigation Home page Search

Op-ed in Svenska Dagbladet: Sweden needs more tests

In an op-ed in Svenska Dagbladet, Herman Holm (psychiatry) and network member Daniel Spiro (economics) outline society’s broad needs for testing. They mention four aspects of the crisis that can be alleviated by extensive testing: medical, mental health, economic, and information-based decision-making. Taking these aspects into account the conclusion is that Sweden’s current ambition of 100 000 tests per week needs to be increased manifold.
  1. The medical reasons for testing are well known and include testing of patients and hospital staff. Most of the current testing resources have been directed to this area, yet given the large number of infected at eldercare, they have not been sufficient.
  2. The mental-health aspect relates to the fact that large parts of the population are now isolated. Come fall (darkness and inability to meet outdoors) this can lead to extensive mental-health problems in large parts of the population. Instead of medicines the problems can be alleviated by letting an individual be tested, and if found without infection, visit say an older relative. Testing helps also if there exist “false negatives” in the tests. For instance, suppose a visit is worthwhile under a risk of infection X%. Without testing, the isolated person will get no visit until the infection share in society falls to X. If there is a share Y<1 of false negatives then visits can be allowed with testing when infection in society has reached X/Y which necessarily happens earlier.
  3. The economic value of testing is well known. As has been highlighted by many economists, including many CERN network members, the economic value of testing is much larger than its costs. The same point about false negatives applies here.
  4. The final value is that testing gives us information essential for making informed decisions. For this we need to conduct randomized testing, preferably on a regional level, frequently. This would give us essential information about where we are on “the curve”, about IFR, speed of progression etc. Testing also enables getting more detailed information, for instance, about contagion in schools.

Each one of the aspects has different implications for how testing should be organized. The authors call for a substantially increased ambition, that funds are prioritized for testing and that an organizational plan is devised with these different needs in mind.

Link to the Op-ed (in Swedish) here

Posted by: Daniel Spiro,

Uppsala University

This website uses cookies. By using this website you are agreeing to our use of cookies and to the terms and conditions listed in our data protection policy. Read more