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OPINION

If You Don’t Want To Catch Covid, Stop Testing For It

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File

In response to the so-called “tridemic” of Covid, flu, and RSV, the Biden administration is again giving out free Covid tests, to the tune of four for each of the ~130 million US households. If you’re counting, that’s 520 million ‘free’ Covid tests. It may sound like a lot, and it is, especially when you consider the massive budget deficit and the environmental costs of continuing to needlessly produce seemingly endless tons of plastic for our landfills and oceans. However, when you consider how much the powers-that-be really want you to test for Covid, it’s a drop in the bucket.

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Never mind that the virus has attenuated significantly and Covid deaths have been flat since April 2022. Never mind that only several hundred mostly super old and super sick people are dying of or with this no-longer-novel and now-quite-common virus every day. In spite of the facts on the ground and the fact that it’s almost 2023, our medical overlords would still like to see every man, woman, and child, along with every ze and zir, test for Covid every time they get a sniffle.

“If you think you just have a cold you have a moral obligation to test yourself for COVID,” journalist Erin Biba tweeted just last week. “Don't just assume. Otherwise you could be ground zero for other people's infections. Obviously not everyone can afford this, in which case at the very least assume you have covid and put on a f*ing mask.”

Notwithstanding the continuing baseless and unscientific assumption among a certain set that a “f*ing mask” will do anything at all to stop or even moderately curb the spread of any respiratory virus, the expectation that one should continually test for Covid every time some mucus runs is more than a little insane. 

As even Biba acknowledges in her tweet, the cost is not insignificant. Using them to their standards of frequency, those four ‘free’ Covid tests will be gone by the end of an average winter month, possibly by the end of the week for severe hypochondriacs, of which there are sadly far too many. After those, at $10-$15 a pop, the expenses can add up quickly for middle to lower-income families. 

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Then there’s the environmental impact, something that hypocritical leftist Covidians conveniently ignored during the height of the pandemic as plastic tests got tossed by the billions and useless plastic face diapers clogged our rivers and oceans, choking and killing wildlife by the metric ton. While this 2021 analysis predictably downplays the environmental impact of producing tons upon tons of plastic waste by focusing on carbon footprint alone, it also acknowledged that Covid test kits are mostly made from non-recyclable plastics.

This research paper, published in September 2022 by the American Chemical Society, considered all phases of testing, from materials extraction to manufacturing to transportation to waste disposal:

It was estimated that the life cycle of a single COVID-19 nucleic acid diagnostic test in China would lead to the emission of 612.9 g CO2 equiv global warming potential. Waste treatment, as a step of life cycle, worsen the environmental impacts such as global warming potential, eutrophication, and ecotoxicity. Meanwhile, diesel-driven transportation was considered as the major contributor to particulate air. Even though COVID-19 diagnostics are of the greatest importance to end the pandemic, their environmental impacts should not be ignored.

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While indefinite Covid testing definitely hurts the pocketbooks of consumers as well as the environment, it also does something far worse by needlessly prolonging the ‘pandemic mindset’ and the sense of fear and public unease that prevents a return to 100% normality in so many places. Gone are the days when a sniffle was assumed to be a cold of some sort and life went on. People didn’t ask which cold. They even understood that it could be the flu, RSV, or another of the countless bugs that have plagued humanity for hundreds of thousands of years. Unless they had a fever bad enough to keep them at rest, those afflicted generally kept their distance but went about their lives unbothered. Now, even though in many cases the flu and RSV can be more deadly to certain people, Covid continues to be the one thing far too many people baselessly fear the most.

I caught the Delta variant of Covid-19 in August 2021. As I wrote about here, it was no fun but manageable. Since then, I’ve had a grand total of two minor ‘colds’ of one sort or another. I couldn’t tell you whether they were Covid or not because I DIDN’T TEST and I DIDN’T CARE. I know many of you probably do it just because you’re curious, but it’s past time to stop testing for Covid every time you get a sniffle. It’s past time to stop living in fear of this mostly benign virus that almost everyone in the world has some degree of immunity against. It’s past time to return to every aspect of pre-2020 life.

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