AT THIS WEEK’S First Minister’s Questions, the LibDem leader Willie Rennie had his customary go at Nicola Sturgeon about testing. This time he focussed on the 50,000 PCR tests that go unused each day, which he wants deployed for frontline workers in supermarkets, the Royal Mail and the police (surprisingly he failed to mention schools).
With perhaps not quite intentional sarcasm, he pointed out that “since Christmas, the SNP Government has failed to use almost a million ‘gold standard’ – that is the phrase that it uses – PCR tests; to be precise, that means that 908,585 potential tests have been wasted”.
So far, so predictable; but then came Nicola Sturgeon’s reply:
“Willie Rennie says that we have failed to use all those PCR tests. Those tests are there so that people can be tested when they have symptoms. Remember, if you have symptoms, you should self-isolate and get tested. If we had used all those symptomatic tests, we would have a prevalence and an incidence rate that was many times higher than it is. That would not be a good thing; it would be a bad thing and a terrible position for us to be in.”
What does the First Minister mean here? There seem to me to be two possibilities.
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