Screening people without symptoms finds those who are infectious and gets them into quarantine and isolation earlier. But this doesn’t serve any purpose unless you’re also pairing this screening with careful behavior. Even if the infections of the president and others were discovered during regular screening, they still had a huge number of contacts; it’s still a disaster. If you’re going to lead a life where you could theoretically infect hundreds of people or more a day, slightly earlier knowledge doesn’t matter that much.
The most testing, the most advanced technology, and the best health care are simply not sufficient when it comes to this disease. What’s necessary are simple public health measures, like distancing, masking, washing hands and spending as little time as possible close together indoors in the same room. The key to slowing down the spread of coronavirus infections is to have few, if any, close contacts. There’s just no getting around it…
It’s unsafe to hold crowded events. It’s unsafe to speak or shout without a mask, in indoor environments, for long periods of time. It’s unsafe to mingle, to hang out close together, and to gather in person when you could do so remotely. And this will still be the case for some time, even if we manage to scale up our testing regime significantly.
To limit the spread of this coronavirus, most of us don’t have to be brave or heroic. Some of us do, especially those in medicine. But most of us just have to be smart (or not stupid) and disciplined, as well as occasionally give a damn about someone else. It’s not fun to say the least, but it really does beat the alternatives, and all we have to do is physically distance and wear a mask.