Some countries use temperature checks for coronavirus. Others don’t bother. Here’s why.
You’ve seen the picture: exhausted travelers waiting to have a thermometer pointed at their heads.There are temperature checks at airports, screenings outside shops, people being stopped and examined while they walk down the street.Two months into this pandemic, with anxiety running high, many people are wondering: Shouldn’t we all be getting our temperature checked?The answer, according to experts, is no.Temperature checks are an important tool that can be effective in many contexts, including doctors offices and hospitals. But when it comes to curbing the global spread of the coronavirus that causes covid-19, temperature screening has serious limitations — and comes with costs.What can be missedThe biggest problem is that temperature screening can miss cases, unwittingly sending sick people through. It can also deliver false positives, potentially sending healthy people into spaces where others are seriously ill.For some jurisdictions, it is difficult and expensive to acquire enough screening equipment and to train the personnel to use it. Because of this, some governments are choosing to focus on other measures, especially if resources are scarce.“A thermometer, if calibrated and if used appropriately, can detect a fever. Great. We are all happy about that,” said Isaac Bogoch, an infectious disease specialist at Toronto