ACT Against COVID: The Alliance for Comprehensive Testing (ACT) today announced an effort to improve public health through comprehensive COVID-19 testing initiatives. Mobilized by Quest Diagnostics, ACT is a diverse alliance of organizations dedicated to providing people with information about widespread COVID-19 testing, and encouraging re-engagement with the health system, to improve public health and allow for a sustained, responsible return to daily activities. Multiple studies suggest that lack of access to testing and care in 2020 during the height of the pandemic means many individuals did not receive important diagnostic tests and screenings resulting in an epidemic of undiagnosed and undertreated conditions.i ii
For more information about the alliance visit: www.actagainstcovid.com
While the COVID-19 vaccines are being administered across the country, those who have not been vaccinated remain vulnerable to infection. A recent poll found that 1 in 5 Americans still do not plan to get vaccinated.iii Public education campaigns promoting vaccines should help, but vaccine hesitancy remains a potential obstacle to reaching herd immunity. Recently, there have been reports of increased infection among children, possibly tied to the circulation of more contagious variants. Additionally, even with vaccination, break through infections are still possible. Given the likelihood that the virus will continue to be a threat, testing remains an essential tool, along with other safety measures, for reducing its transmission.
“Our alliance calls upon its members to use their unique platforms to empower people with information about testing to help improve public health, slow the spread of COVID-19 and return to daily activities responsibly,” said Kathleen A. Arntsen, President & CEO of Lupus and Allied Diseases Association. “By educating and empowering the public, ACT will help leverage testing to improve health outcomes and will advocate for clear health policy decisions.”
Alliance members provide resources and educational materials to constituents and stakeholders on the role that diagnostic testing and screening will play in helping society return to normal daily life and emerge post-pandemic. Topics include “how and when” to use the right type of COVID-19 test to support the reopening of businesses and schools; the secondary impact of COVID-19 on people with chronic conditions; and addressing the disproportionate public-health impact the pandemic has had as a result of deferred care, particularly in communities of color.
Addressing racial inequities in the healthcare system and the challenges of deferred healthcare services.
Lack of access to preventive healthcare fueled a hidden epidemic of undiagnosed conditions across the country. Lockdowns, fear, and social distancing measures caused alarming numbers of people to delay the medical care they need. ACT will, in particular, emphasize the importance of testing programs and re-engagement in the healthcare system in communities where racial and minority ethnic groups have been hard hit by COVID-19. iv
“We need to address the underlying reasons why the Black community has been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19,” said Derrick Johnson, President & CEO, NAACP. “Lack of access to healthcare and paid sick leave, high-exposure jobs, and a long legacy of mistreatment by the medical establishment are some of the impediments to stopping the spread of the virus in Black communities. In the meantime, it’s crucial that we continue affordable, accessible and robust testing programs to help mitigate exposure and reduce health inequities as part of a comprehensive strategy to protect Black lives.”
Comprehensive COVID-19 Testing Will Still Play an Important Role in a Post Pandemic World
As people return to regular life including work, school and leisure, comprehensive COVID-19 testing will continue to play a role in monitoring and minimizing the spread of the virus. Previous epidemics provide a useful model for continuing the role after the initial crisis subsides.
“During the AIDS epidemic, the introduction of widespread testing helped curb the virus’ deadly spread,” commented Michael Ruppal, executive director of the AIDS Institute. “We can follow this successful model in stopping the spread of Covid-19 and speed the return to work, school and everyday activities.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently issued guidance recommending that even people who have been fully vaccinated should still watch out for symptoms of COVID-19, especially if they have been around someone who is sick, and should get tested if they have any symptoms.
“2021 provides an opportunity for individuals to emerge from the pandemic and take back control of their health,” said Jay Wohlgemuth, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Quest Diagnostics. “COVID-19 has shone a light on the need for ongoing engagement in the healthcare system. That includes preventive care, chronic care management and managing the spread of COVID-19.”
About ACT Against COVID: The Alliance for Comprehensive Testing (ACT)
ACT Against COVID: The Alliance for Comprehensive Testing (ACT)is a diverse alliance that began as an effort to clarify the value of, and how to access, COVID-19 molecular, antigen and antibody testing. It brings together a wide range of organizations, healthcare and public health professionals, officials, and others who share the belief that comprehensive testing solutions are a critical tool for helping to slow and eventually halt the spread of COVID-19. The Alliance advocates for testing as powerful tool in combatting new variants as they emerge, better understanding how the virus spreads in communities, and uncovering hidden pandemics. Implementing comprehensive testing strategies will support ongoing wellness and help us return to life responsibly.
ACT Members include:
Advocates for Responsible Care
The AIDS Institute
Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of Massachusetts
American Red Cross
American Senior Alliance
Atlanta Black Chambers
Auburn, MA Chamber of Commerce
Blackstone Valley, MA Chamber of Commerce
Choose Healthy Life
Chronic Disease Coalition
Clarkston Community Health Center
Detroit Association of Black Organizations
Georgia 9 to 5
Georgia Municipal Association
Global Health Crisis Coordination Center
HEALS of the South (Hepatitis Education, Awareness, and Liver Support)
Heat and Frost Insulators & Allied Workers Local 6
IBEW Local 96
The International Foundation for Autoimmune & Autoinflammatory Arthritis (AiArthritis)
Lupus and Allied Diseases Association, Inc.
Massachusetts Association of Early Education and Care
Massachusetts Bay Constables Association
Massachusetts Concrete and Aggregate Producers Association
Massachusetts State Towing Association
Meadowlands, NJ Chamber of Commerce
National AIDS Memorial
National Council of Negro Women
National Safety Council
National Urban League
Newark, NJ Regional Business Partnership
Preparedness and Treatment Equity Coalition
Senior Whole Health
Union City, GA (Mayor Vince Williams)
Worcester, MA Regional Chamber of Commerce
For more information about ACT Against COVID, visit ACTAgainstCOVID.com.
iii Insert CIDRAP reference
SOURCE ACT Against COVID: The Alliance for Comprehensive Testing