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By Shiqian Shen
As states develop plans to restart their economies, the big fear is that coronavirus cases will surge again. To keep the pandemic under control, strategic testing systems will be needed, and they will need to be scaled up fast.
But how many people should be tested? Who should be tested? And what should that testing system look like?
There isn’t one simple answer. The notion of “widespread testing” has a different meaning for big metropolitan areas, such as New York City and Detroit, than for rural areas like Montana or Alaska. For testing systems to be efficient, they need to be tailored to the demographics, circumstances and disease spread patterns for each.
As policymakers figure out the best design for each state or county, they could learn a lot from the retail industry, where strategic decisions such as where to locate warehouses and distribution centers are being made by companies like Amazon in the face of uncertain customer demand.