Fever checks have become mandatory for entry to many businesses, schools, and medical facilities. While having a fever is one of the first symptoms of COVID-19, some healthcare experts say that relying on this single screening tool isn't a foolproof way of detecting the virus.
According to NBC News, a study from the University of California found that there is a significant number of people who can be affected by the virus who don't develop a fever. COVID-19 can have a wide range of symptoms aside from fever, a list that includes a cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, fatigue, and a new loss of taste or smell, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
David Paltiel, a professor at the Yale School of Public Health, said that many people can spread the disease before becoming symptomatic at all. So, fever checks can provide a false sense of security.
"If you're using signs and symptoms as a basis for moving ahead, it's like the fire department waiting until a house has burned down before springing into action," he said, according to NBC News.
According to The New York Times, the American Civil Liberties Union warned against using fever scanners last May, saying that the devices were often inaccurate, ineffective, and intrusive. The union targeted the infrared temperature scanning guns in particular, saying that they provide a superficial measure that can vary if the person has just come in from the sun or is sweaty.
Experts say that fever checks still need to be a part of coronavirus safety protocols, along with wearing masks and social distancing, but they shouldn't be the sole source of detection.
"It's not that we don't believe in testing and screening, but we don't trust them entirely," Dr. David Lee Thomas, director of the division of infectious diseases at Johns Hopkins Medicine, told NBC News.
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