Dr. Sung Yang Discusses How United States Was Able To Build Vast Rapid COVID-19 Testing Network

Dr. Sung Yang Honolulu Hawaii

July 13, 2021

Dr. Sung Yang Discus Was To Build Vast Rapid COVID-19 Testing Network

After struggling in the early months of the pandemic, the U.S. is now a leader in rapid COVID-19 testing. Dr. Sung Yang covers some key factors in the turnaround.

This time last year, the United States was under fire because in spite of expensive efforts by state and federal government organizations, COVID-19 testing initially turned out to be a mess. Now the United States is among the world’s leaders when it comes to testing per capita, outpacing countries such as Italy, Sweden, and Canada. Dr. Sung Yang is going to shed light on how the U.S. was able to turn things around.

“Pointing fingers doesn’t help anyone, but truthfully, there were some preventable challenges early on,” Dr. Sung Yang says. “The initial test kits were inaccurate and there weren’t enough resources at first to support private sector development. This slowed the initial response while other countries raced ahead.”

One of the biggest hurdles early on was the development of an accurate test kit. Initially, the United States didn’t collaborate closely with the World Health Organization and other governments to develop accurate testing kits. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) had the resources and talent to develop their own kits, but early efforts suffered various setbacks, according to Dr. Sung Yang.

Even once the United States developed proper kits to begin accurate testing, the lack of detailed national guidelines and questions over who should pay caused more issues. In the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States lagged behind many other countries.

Yet after these early stumbles, breakthroughs led to better test kits. Meanwhile, the government and various other private organizations started to pour money into COVID-19 testing, which made it possible to expand operations, according to Dr. Sung Yang.

Dr. Sung Yang Discusses the Advantages of a Decentralized Healthcare System

Compared to some other countries, the United States healthcare system is not nearly as centralized. In the United Kingdom and elsewhere, the government and central agencies coordinate activities and resources. In the United States, the CDC and other federal organizations provide guidelines, resources, assistance, and more, but the execution is often left to state and local hospitals and organizations.

Arguably, the United States decentralized healthcare system initially slowed down testing, but once organizations and communities began to focus on testing, testing became accurate, rapid, and widespread.

“No healthcare system is perfect,” Dr. Sung Yang points out, “the United States relies on a lot of small practices and local hospitals to deliver care. This can make the initial stages of coordination difficult. However, these small organizations are flexible and many are staffed with incredibly talented people. Once they began to focus on testing, it allowed the U.S. to quickly catch up.”

Ultimately, the synergy between national agencies and organizations, like the CDC, and the smaller regional and local healthcare providers allowed the US to expand the COVID-19 testing in a tremendous scale. The COVID-19 pandemic is far from over, but with rapid testing and expansive vaccine rollouts, Dr. Sung Yang believes that there is hope on the horizon.