Mar. 19 2020

The following statement was released on Friday, March 13, by Sandro Galea, chair of the Board of Directors of the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH). Galea is dean of the Boston University School of Public Health. Linda P. Fried, dean of Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, is a member of the Board of Directors of ASPPH. 

The Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH) is the professional home for 128 accredited academic institutions that are training the next generation of leaders in public health. ASPPH represents the deans and directors of these schools and programs public health.

We are compelled to speak out on the issue of test kit availability for the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) that causes coronavirus respiratory disease (COVID-19).

When the United States failed to participate in the World Health Organization’s collaborative effort to bring testing to the world’s nations, it made an implicit commitment to provide its own tests. It has failed to do so, and clinical and public health organizations alike do not have anywhere near the testing capacity for an aggressive response to the expanding COVID-19 crisis.

Using emergency public health measures and funding, we call on the Administration to immediately facilitate the public-private partnerships needed to validate and manufacture quality test kits that can be deployed in the hospitals, clinics, and health departments around our nation. Only with the ability to reliably diagnose infections, to provide serological surveillance, and to track the expansion of the virus can the United States combat this rapidly expanding infectious threat.

For more information, contact Sandro Galea (sgalea@bu.edu) or Tony Mazzaschi, ASPPH chief advocacy officer (tmazzaschi@aspph.com).