98.6 is not the average temperature. It’s important to know what your normal is so you know when you have a fever - especially during a pandemic. AESF funded the development of free mobile apps that make it easy to track your temperature and symptoms:
Austin Emergency Supply Foundation has purchased 2,000 non-contact infrared thermometers to enable fever screening here in Austin.
Fever screening is not a test for the virus itself but it is a test. It is possible to transmit this virus while asymptomatic, but most transmission (56%) happens after patients are symptomatic as viral shedding peaks close to when symptoms appear — and the #1 symptom is fever. According to this study, 98% of hospitalized COVID-19 patients in Wuhan (136/138) had a fever.
Even if fever screening is only 30% effective, we need to think of this as just one layer in a system. City-scale water filtration systems have multiple layers. The first filter removes rocks. Fever screening will not catch everyone, but it will catch the rocks — and someone walking around the grocery store with a 102-degree fever during a pandemic is a rock.
TSA uses metal detectors even though all threats are not made of metal and metal detectors on their own would not ensure our safety. TSA also thinks in terms of layers — 20 layers.
Fever testing is visible, easy to do, and inexpensive. It may act as a deterrent that encourages people who know they are sick to stay home. Even if it’s only partially effective, fever testing is an important layer in the system