CDC and states misrepresent COVID-19 test data


The CDC stopped publishing anything resembling a comprehensive database of daily test results on February 29. When he resumed posting test data last week, a page on his website explaining his new COVID Data Tracker said that only viral tests were included in his figures. “These data represent only viral tests. Antibody tests are not currently captured in this data, “the page said on May 18.

This language changed yesterday. All reference to the breakdown of the two different types of tests has disappeared. “These data are compiled from a number of sources,” says the new version. The text strongly implied that both types of tests were included in the count, but did not say so explicitly.

The CDC data has also become more favorable in recent days. A page on the agency’s website said on Monday that 10.2 million viral tests had been done nationwide since the start of the pandemic, of which 15% – or about 1.5 million – returned positive. But yesterday, after the CDC changed its conditions, it said on the same page that 10.8 million tests of all types had been carried out across the country. However, his positive rate had dropped by one percent. On the same day he expanded his conditions, the CDC added 630,205 new tests, but added only 52,429 positive results.

This is about Jha. Because antibody tests are intended for use on the general population, not just symptomatic people, they will, in most cases, have a lower positive percentage rate than viral tests. So the mix of viral tests and antibodies “will lower your positive rate very dramatically,” he said.

The lack of clear national guidelines has led to widespread confusion as to how test data should be communicated. Pennsylvania reports viral and antibody tests to the same extent, a state spokesman confirmed on Wednesday. The state has one of the worst epidemics in the country, with more than 67,000 positive cases. But it also slowly improved its test performance, testing around 8,000 people in one day. However, at the moment, it is impossible to know how to interpret the accumulated results.

Texas, where the rate of new COVID-19 infections has steadfastly refused to drop, is one of the states of greatest concern (along with Georgia). the Texas Observer reported for the first time last week that the state is pooling its viral and antibody results. Governor Greg Abbott denied the state was mixing results on Tuesday, but the Dallas Observer reports that it continues to do so.

As the number of tests per day has increased in Texas, reaching over 20,000, the combined results mean that the test data is essentially uninterpretable. It is impossible to know the true percentage of positive viral tests in Texas. It is impossible to know how many of the 718,000 negative results were not intended to diagnose a sick person. The state did not return a request for comment and did not provide data describing its antibody or viral results separately. (Some states, as directed by the State Council and territorial epidemiologists, report positive antibody test results as “likely” COVID-19 cases without including them in their confirmed totals.)


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