Ok, so I tested negative for COVID-19. But do I have it? (Opinion)
I finally got my test results back for my coronavirus test and as I clicked on the results I waited with bated breath. You would think I would have breathed a sigh of relief when I saw that the test was negative. But unfortunately I read way too much about it to feel secure.
Experts have long warned about the accuracy of these tests, which is probably why my doctor said he wasn’t trusting the tests and that I should assume that I have it. A couple of pretty lofty publications have published articles explaining why doctors and experts are hesitant to believe a lot of the negative results they’re seeing. The headlines themselves are telling: No one fully trusts the negative results.
For example, the "Gray Lady" herself, the New York Times, on April 1 blared the headline: “If you have coronavirus symptoms assume you have the illness, even if you test negative,” citing the doubts of many experts in the medical community.
No less than the Washington Post was quick to agree, with the headline “A negative coronavirus test result doesn’t always mean you aren’t infected”
That article quotes doctor Anthony Fauci in an interview with JAMA, the Journal of the American medical Association saying of the test, "If it’s negative, you may be early on in the infection and the viral load may be so low you don’t get it.” And Live science, a prominent online science publication, explained that the tests may give false negative results 30% of the time. Their headline is even more sobering: “Even if you test negative for COVID-19, assume you have it, experts say”
So while it’s true that 70% is pretty good odds, I’m still pretty paranoid. I’m looking forward to the day when we can all just relax.
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