By Laurie Bonner, CLP Chief Editor
March 11, 2021, marked one year since the World Health Organization declared covid-19 to be a global pandemic. In that time, the disease has exacted a grim economic and human toll. As of March 22, 2021, confirmed global cases had reached 123,386,930, with 2,718,137 deaths.1 By far, the highest number of confirmed cases (29,834,364) and deaths (542,524) occurred here in the United States.1 Our numbers dwarf those of even the country with the second highest number of cases—Brazil—which reported 11,998,233 confirmed cases and 294,042 deaths.1
The reasons for the high numbers in the United States have been enumerated in a number of places and include the early efforts by the Trump administration to minimize the threat of the virus as well as the test initially released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that contained contaminated reagents.2
But there has been good news over the past year, too. At record-breaking speed not one but three vaccines have been authorized by the FDA and are reaching people’s arms by the millions. And, without doubt, the pandemic response fostered new public appreciation for the doctors, nurses, and others who perform critical, lifesaving work every day—including clinical diagnostics.
“Suddenly, people are regularly hearing news stories about the laboratory’s role in the pandemic response, and testing for the disease is a topic at dinner tables across the country,” wrote Lauren Albrect, MPH, MLS (ASCP)cm, in “STIs in the Time of Covid-19.”3
“The laboratory community can take advantage of this newfound appreciation for our profession,” Albrect goes on. “Clinical laboratorians play an important role in public health, and the laboratory community has an opportunity to build on that momentum to help keep the focus on important public health matters that will still be around once covid-19 cases start to diminish.”
What “silver linings” has the pandemic response brought to you and your lab? What changes have occurred, for better or for worse, where you work? CLP wants to hear from you. Share your insights and experiences with your peers in the comments section below. Content will be moderated and new comments will not appear immediately.
1. Coronavirus Resource Center. COVID-19 Dashboard by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University. March 22, 2021. Available at https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/. Accessed March 22, 2021.
2. Conroy J. Testing in crisis. Clinical Lab Products. May 2020. Available at: https://clpmag.com/disease-states/infectious-diseases/covid-19/testing-in-crisis/.
3. Albrect L. STIs in the time of covid-19. Clinical Lab Products. March/April 2021. Available at: https://clpmag.com/disease-states/infectious-diseases/covid-19/stis-in-the-time-of-covid-19.