The CDC and several states have been making a dangerous data mistake throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
There are two distinct tests key to solving the coronavirus crisis: Those that test for the actual virus, and those that test for COVID-19 antibodies and potential resistance to the virus. They have very different purposes, and yet the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and several states have been lumping the results from those tests into one data pile, with potentially disastrous results for patients’ safety reopening efforts, The Atlantic reports.
Local newspapers have reported in the past few days that their states have been blending the data together; the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported it in Virginia, prompting the state to start splitting its data last week, while the Texas Observer found it in Texas. Maine didn’t start splitting the viral and antibody test data until Wednesday, while officials in Vermont told the Vermont Digger they didn’t even know the blend was happening. And the problem goes all the way to the top, with the CDC confirming to The Atlantic that it has been incorrectly compiling test data.
“This is not merely a technical error,” The Atlantic notes. Widespread viral testing is key to preventing coronavirus spread, while antibody testing can help determine whether those who’ve recovered from COVID-19 — perhaps even without symptoms — have some form of immunity to it. And seeing as “states have set quantitative guidelines for reopening their economies based on these flawed data points,” blending the two together may have falsely inflated the number of viral tests and led some states to reopen too early. Read more at The Atlantic.
Posted by Yahoo News