Right now, it’s commonplace for you to enter a place of business and have someone at the door check your temperature using a non-touch thermometer. This can apply whether you’re going to get a haircut, go out to eat where indoor dining is allowed, or even entering a medical facility like a doctor’s office or hospital. To be fair, when it comes to keeping people protected and at ease, some sort of check is better than nothing.
With fever being one of the early noticeable symptoms of COVID-19, it seems like a temperature check would be a good starting point. But we’re roughly 6 months into this pandemic taking root in the U.S. It’s time to question the true value of these screenings and potential alternatives.
Understanding Temperature Checks And Their Value
First, let’s discuss some of the limitations in terms of what temperature measurements actually offer. For one thing, let’s say that a person walked in from hot weather outside, like an arid setting such as Arizona. This could impact the quality of the reading. Also, a fever is a common symptom of a variety of conditions, many of which don’t have the risk level that COVID-19 does. We are headed towards winter, which means flu season and a greater risk of many conditions outside of COVID. Fever checks may be less useful. Finally, perhaps the biggest issue is that as many as half of COVID -19 patients with acute infection may not even have a fever initially. So, temperature checks may be turning away individuals that pose no threat, while letting the COVID-infected in. There is also the possibility of people who may have potentially been infected, trying to skirt the test so they can just get in.
Even Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of our country’s foremost names on the subject of infectious diseases, cast doubt on the effectiveness of temperature checks. In fact, he believes that it is better to just ask people if they have been infected or have been exposed to someone who was infected.
Tools To Simplify Self-Assessment
Let’s compare temperature checks to another option that’s growing in viability: the notion of self-assessment. The idea of working on the honor system may be off-putting to some, but there are some key benefits, especially compared to something like a temperature check. For example, self-assessment is better at keeping track of multiple symptoms, especially for new-onset of symptoms. This also helps solve questions we have about exposure, and self-assessment tools can be repeatedly used in a minute or less.
Naturally, people may counter with “Why not just test everyone?” There are several issues here. For one thing, all current tests are currently evolving under FDA emergency use authorization (EUA). By the time a massive rollout started for one test, an issue could be found or another test could be determined to be found superior. If we look at rapid throat swabs or saliva tests, these would be of limited value since these tests just confirm whether you had an infection that day or plus/minus a couple of days before and after the day of the test. Limitations also apply to the idea of home test kits or IgG tests on fingers. How much more valid is a self-reported at-home test versus a self-assessment test? Even if we look to the future, and there is a rapid-turnaround test that is developed, how often do you test people? There are going to be logistical and cost barriers here.
To combine our need for safety with the reality of testing logistics, digital self-assessment tests are a powerful tool, especially with other measures like PPE, social distancing, and proper hygiene. This combination will provide us with the comfort and peace of mind to go about certain activities until a vaccine is readily available.
At covidprecheck.net, we offer the perfect way to implement self-assessment — the COVID PreCheck.
Visit covidprecheck.net or use it from covidprecheck.app . Start with your self-assessment test, though this may work equally well with a formal COVID-19 test. When the test results show you as negative, you can update your status in the app, then get a personalized QR-code. This code can be scanned or shown in any public setting to prove that you are not showcasing any COVID-19 symptoms. COVID PreCheck also has a cool feature for small groups gathering called a Virtual Handshake, check it out!