Nationwide Coronavirus Data Skewed & More on Masks

The CDC, along with numerous states, are currently using aggregated viral testing that include assays for current infection along with antibody testing that detects prior infections.  This muddies the picture on actual current coronavirus cases and makes it more difficult to determine if we are heading in the right direction.

From The Atlantic: ‘How Could the CDC Make That Mistake?

An excerpt:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is conflating the results of two different types of coronavirus tests, distorting several important metrics and providing the country with an inaccurate picture of the state of the pandemic. We’ve learned that the CDC is making, at best, a debilitating mistake: combining test results that diagnose current coronavirus infections with test results that measure whether someone has ever had the virus…

The widespread use of the practice means that it remains difficult to know exactly how much the country’s ability to test people who are actively sick with COVID-19 has improved….

Georgia …has also seen its COVID-19 infections plateau amid a surge in testing. Like Texas, it reported more than 20,000 new results on Wednesday, the majority of them negative. But because, according to The Macon Telegraph, it is also blending its viral and antibody results together, its true percent-positive rate is impossible to know…

On a national scale, they call the strength of America’s response to the coronavirus into question…the portion of tests coming back positive has plummeted, from a seven-day average of 10 percent at the month’s start to 6 percent on Wednesday…The intermingling of viral and antibody tests suggests that some of those gains might be illusory.

Related blog posts:

NY Times: Why Georgia Isn’t Ready, You Shouldn’t Drink Disinfectants/Bleach, Masks Help


Correction: Today’s earlier blog post has been updated:

  • For >1000 [calprotectin], the sensitivity 38%, specificity 100%, PPV 98%, and NPV 92%
  • Previously this line started with the following: “For >100”

From NY Times: Why Georgia Isn’t Ready to Reopen

Key points:

  • Georgia’s infection rates have not started to decline
  • Georgia has a low testing rate compared to other states
  • Georgia’s population rate is vulnerable with increased rates of diabetes and the 4th highest rates of uninsured individuals

NY Times: How Will We Know When to Reopen the Country? & Timely Tweets

A good read from Aaron Carroll/NY Times: How Will We Know When to Reopen the Country?

Here is an excerpt:

Everyone wants to know when we are going to be able to leave our homes and reopen the United States. That’s the wrong way to frame it.

The better question is: “How will we know when to reopen the country?”…

 A recent report by Scott Gottlieb, Caitlin Rivers, Mark B. McClellan, Lauren Silvis and Crystal Watson staked out some goal posts.

  • Hospitals in the state must be able to safely treat all patients requiring hospitalization, without resorting to crisis standards of care.
  • A state needs to be able to test at least everyone who has symptoms.
  • The state is able to conduct monitoring of confirmed cases and contacts.
  • There must be a sustained reduction in cases for at least 14 days…

These four criteria are a baseline…Until we get a vaccine or effective drug treatments, focusing on these major criteria, and directing efforts toward them, should help us determine how we are progressing locally, and how we might achieve each goal.

Related blog posts/links: