testingTo 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%


About whungerford

* Contributor at NewNY23rd.com where we discuss the politics, economics, and events of the New New York 23rd Congressional District (Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Chemung, (Eastern) Ontario, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben,Tioga, Tompkins, and Yates Counties) Please visit and comment on whatever strikes your fancy.
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5 Responses to Testing

  1. Athos says:

    Good news first: Using current data, the mortality rate of the disease appears to be ~1%.

    The bad news: assuming the disease infects only 60 % of the population (383 million) then we can expect ~ 230,000,000 infections.

    Worse news: That means ~ 2,300,000 deaths

    With deaths averaging 2000 a day, by election day 2020, we could be 1/4 of the way there, with ~440,000 fatalities. If the average is 3000 a day, there will be 623,000 fatalities.

    DJT has stated that effective testing produces numbers that make him look bad. This is the same reason that he wouldn’t allow the cruise ship to land. Don’t expect help from the feds for testing.

    Thank goodness that we in NYS have a governor who is competent and governs by science and fact. And who continues to ramp up testing in our Great State.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I keep thinking about the Middle Ages when people were locked in Plague Houses. Science and fact led us to no longer have to fear Small Pox, Polio, etc., and to even be able to treat Bubonic Plague (yes, it still exists, even in the US). Our administration seems to think popularity is more important than health.


  3. Athos says:

    It is to laugh…

    Trump (and minions) are expending much effort casting doubt on the need for testing and contact tracing. Even to the extent of questioning test accuracy. BUT..

    The virus recently invaded the White House. Two White House staffers — Katie Miller, who is an adviser to Vice President Pence, and one of Trump’s valets — have tested positive. Trump, Pence and their close aides are now tested daily. All White House employees are tested at least weekly. In other words, what you’re seeing unfold inside the White House is a rigorous testing and tracing effort. Someone, somewhere must believe in tests!

    Senior Citizens have noticed that Trump is willing to throw them on the pyre to propitiate the political gods. Trump’s Senior Support is Slipping.

    I hope everyone else is paying attention.


  4. whungerford says:

    It seems crazy that the President and VP wouldn’t keep far apart. If both would sicken and die Nancy Pelosi would be President. While I would welcome that, I doubt that is their goal.


  5. D'Artagnan says:

    5/11/2020—-Here’s a great headline
    “As U.S. meat workers fall sick and supplies dwindle, exports to China soar”

    Executive Summary-
    Reuters reports that meat exports to China are increasing while we in US face meat shortages.

    Read it yourself:

    Time for a call to Tom Reed.


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