To allow the recovery to begin, the United States must implement the kind of strategy that other countries have used to defeat the coronavirus. … Yet so far the country has failed to do so.–Robinson Meyer writing in The Atlantic.
There is an unknown number of Americans who would test positive for Covid 19 with an accurate test. Current tests may give a false negative 30% of the time. In spite of false negatives, current test results are skewed toward over estimating the number infected because many tested are known or expected to test positive. Robinson Meyer explains:
There has been some good news. This week (May 8), on average, fewer than one in every 10 tests came back positive nationwide. This reflects a real improvement: Throughout March and most of April, this metric—sometimes called the “test-positivity rate”—stayed at or above 20 percent, meaning that about one in every five COVID-19 tests discovered a new case. This indicated that the country was still testing only the sickest people.
The U.S. still has a ways to go, however. In countries such as South Korea that have virtually eliminated their coronavirus outbreaks, the test-positivity rate stands below 2 percent.
And the improving national figure masks some regional hot spots. So far in May, 15 states and Washington, D.C., have reported average test-positivity rates higher than 15 percent. Colorado and Michigan, where one in five tests has come back positive, are the outliers outside of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. But many other states in the country’s interior still seem to test only the sickest people: Illinois, Indiana, Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, and Kansas all have test-positivity rates at or above 14 percent. Georgia, Louisiana, and Virginia also have a rate above 15 percent.
Lisa Sanders, M.D., writing in The New York Times Magazine for May 3 reports that of 210 asymptomatic pregnant women tested in NYC 29 tested positive — 14%. Sanders notes that Covid 19 symptoms are poorly understood so many cases may go unrecognized.
We have a long ways to go with control measures and testing to attain an accurate positivity rate like South Korea’s — below 2%