I spoke, this morning, to a 16-year-old just back from Reading Festival, feeling awful and who has just failed a covid test. She was one of 100,000 attending what was meant to be a safe event because everyone there had tested negative. But of course they had not.
To attend, you needed to take a Lateral Flow Test, which is not actually terribly reliable anyway, and then tell the organisers if you tested positive for Covid. That would invalidate your ticket. But here is the catch, that relies on honesty. To get through this screening, all any attendee needed to do was enter the QCR code from their test, the ones handed out willy nilly to schoolkids and students.
You did not actually have to take the test just as long as you had a valid code. And if you did take the test and failed, you could just not tell the organisers about it. And that way 100,000 young folks went to Reading convinced that they would be in a covid safe space so could mingle freely and do what young folks do without a care in the world. But in fact they were not in a safe space at all. There were foolks there who knew they had covid and folks who were unaware of their status.
So, this morning, this girl and her two tent mates who had all tested negative before the event now test positive. And you can bet the ranch that, a week or so before the start of the school term, they are far from alone.
I am not sure what the moral of this tale is other than saying what a farce the testing system is. It will not do much to stop the spread of a plague, with a survival rate among young people of 99.997%, when there are such obvious loopholes. Surely, rather than give a false sense of security, it would be better just to be honest and say “come to the Festival but beware that you are at risk.”