This is my fourth note on mass testing. It’s hard to predict a change in public testing policy. For a while, health officials said they would test the entire population. But a few weeks later it was admitted that such a program was only wasteful and not very effective. Then recently, health officials said they would test 100% of the population. People who sit in cold rooms only make people miserable.
You can do a little math: each quick test costs about 240,000 VND (about 10 USD). A city of 10 million people will cost $100 million.
How many positive cases does that cost to detect? It is possible that 173,500 positives will be detected, but of these 98500 (57%) are false positives. Only 75000 were true positives. Thus, the cost to detect 1 positive case is 1333 USD or ~ 31 million VND.
Of course, the above estimate is an understatement, because when detecting a positive case by rapid test, one still has to do further testing by PCR. For example, if 173,500 cases require PCR testing, the cost can be up to 8.67 million USD or 190 billion VND.
Who pays these costs? In Vietnam, the people or the insurance fund have to pay. Insurance funds are also people’s money.
I can’t understand why people have such an expensive policy. During the blockade, the lives of tens of millions of people were turned upside down and difficult. Hungry everywhere. Why put more burden on people?
The people sitting in the cold room coming up with the testing program (or ‘policy’) are not affected by the blockade. They still receive their salary, not losing any money. They are even more ‘happy’ because they come to work. In that environment, they do not see the suffering of tens of millions of people less fortunate than them.
Remember that the number of positive cases is ‘almost meaningless’. International experts agree. There is no reason to pursue a policy that is so costly that it does not benefit the community.
Introducing a podcast conversation I had with a VNE reporter: