Testing is considered critical to containing COVID-19, yet many countries have encountered diagnostic test-supply shortages.
In the UK in the autumn of 2020, many people with symptoms have been unable to get an available slot for a test.
This raises important issues of efficiency and equity in the testing process and reminds us of the inevitability of scarcity and some form of rationing during this public health crisis.
Scarcity refers to resources being finite and limited relative to demand for their use.
To ration means allowing each person to have only a fixed amountof a commodity or access to a service. This is a way of prioritizing access and helping to rebalance demand and supply.
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