I stand 100% behind calling him an idiot or a liar IF he said testing is pointless which is how Philsmania phrased it. There was no quote or link and I'm going to look up what the PA Doctor General had to say. You can argue that that my response is over the top but I feel I elaborated why I believe that to be true and I still think it is accurate if that is the quote.
Testing is the single most important thing we can do to slow the spread and to help prevent our hospitals from being overwhelmed with seriously ill patients. We have seen that work in South Korea. We have seen the effects not doing that has had throughout Europe. If anyone says its pointless then yes I say they are an idiot or a liar. They are an idiot if they actually believe it because they have completely failed to grasp what is happening right now and in two weeks they will realise this which is exactly what has happned in the UK, but more likely they have other priorities (money) and so they are a liar.
If you want to argue its too expensive or its too difficult due to lack of resources (doctors, test kits, PPE etc) then that is a different argument and there is at least an argument to be had there but saying it is pointless is so far off the mark that I believe its a disingenuous comment, or the words of someone who does not understand how serious this issue is.
You want to know how it works? Sure this is my basic suggestion but I'm clearly not an expert.
There are two scenarios. Unlimited resources and limited resources.
If you have unlimited resources then you test literally every person possible. You test everyone and anyone who shows symptoms or who tests positive remains quarantined (Quarantined not "self isolated") until they show a negative result.
Everyone else is put into self isolation for 14 days except for those who are required for key roles (food production and distribution, utilities, emergency and health care works and other groups that are deemed key. Your local bank or café can close). If you can work from home then great. One person from each isolated home is still allowed to leave their homes to get food and supplies 2-3 times a week and everyone is allowed 1 hour of exercise maximum per day but they must remain at least 2 meters away from other people at all times.
Failing that, you prioritise testing based on your capabilities. You limit your testing to where you believe it can do the most good, but you still use the quarantine/isolation approach. You also do everything you can to ramp up testing capabilities. If you are only able to test those who show symptoms then that is what you do, and if you get a positive then you do your best to contact trace and test anyone who came into contact with that positive test case. This will be less effective than the unrealistic unlimited approach but its still more effective than doing nothing and waiting for people to get sick.
The argument that the cure to this could be worse than the disease is ridiculous to me, because as I see it the longer you delay taking necessary actions to slow this down the longer you have to slow the economy down for in the long run. Shut everything down for two to three weeks now and then roll out aggressive testing and quarantining where there are new outbreaks and thats a shut down of less than 1 month with smaller isolated shut downs later. If you delay you are going to see this drag on for much much longer.