As NY state Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that major sports arenas in the state will be allowed to reopen in late February, public health experts—including ICAP’s Wafaa El-Sadr, MD, MPH, MPA—urge caution. Efforts to resume large events are reliant on the efficacy of expanded laboratory testing, with attendees required to receive a regular COVID-19 diagnostic test within 72-hours of the event. Dr. El-Sadr questioned the efficacy of performing a test days in advance: “If it’s done three days ago, that doesn’t mean one is not infected now.” Furthermore, Dr. El-Sadr cautioned against an over-reliance on rapid testing as well:

But as El-Sadr points out, the rapid tests are far from perfect. Compared to PCR tests, the rapid antigen tests are much less reliable, especially in asymptomatic people, and are more likely to provide a false negative. “You will recall that they were using these types of tests in the White House for months and months and months,” El-Sadr said. “Despite that, there were these people who were infected that the test missed (and) there was a superspreader event at the White House.”

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