In several States revealed a bug in the statistics testing COVID-19

At least four States combined the results of two different types of tests for the coronavirus that could create a false picture of the spread of coronavirus in the United States — and this is especially dangerous at a time when the country relaxes restrictions during a quarantine, writes CNN.

В нескольких штатах выявили ошибку в статистике тестирования на COVID-19

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According to the Johns Hopkins University, more than 1.5 million people in the United States tested positive for the coronavirus, and more than 93 000 dead.

In Virginia, Texas, Georgia and Vermont said that their total is double counting results: data of tests for the presence of virus and antibody tests combined.

Tests on the virus taken from the saliva or smears of the nose: they show who is sick right now Covid-19. The antibody tests are quite different, they use blood samples, which determine whether people exposed to the virus in the past.

Combining results of the two tests can give an inaccurate picture of where and when the virus spreads, and can also exaggerate the ability of the state to test and monitor active infection is a key factor as States remove restrictions during a quarantine.

Experts pointed out that for the safe re-opening of States is essential for adequate testing and tracking.

“Do you know how many cases you have only if you do many tests,’ said Elizabeth Cohen, senior medical correspondent for CNN. — If you join the results of two types of tests together, you deceive yourself into thinking that you did more than you actually are”.

Recently in Texas, Virginia, and Vermont said that found a problem with the data and decided to fix it. In Georgia, public health officials stated that they add data of the antibody tests to their number of “common tests” in accordance with the methodology of the Centers for control and prevention of diseases.

The CDC did not respond to a request by CNN about the comments regarding the fact whether the recommendation to combine the results of two different tests. On the website of the Centers represented a common database with the results of daily tests without a breakdown by test type.

The desire to open the economy or control the spread of the virus

In the second week of may, the labor Department reported that another 2.4 million Americans filed applications for unemployment benefits. Only about 38.6 million people applied for initial unemployment assistance since mid-March, when nationwide started the quarantine restrictions.

All 50 States currently have taken some steps to begin lifting the restrictions.

However, the group of experts predicted a surge of new cases of coronavirus in the United States, which was opened too early. The forecasting model developed by a group from Children’s hospital of Philadelphia and University of Pennsylvania, predicts a rapid increase in the number of new cases Covid-19 in places like the densely populated regions of Texas, parts of Alabama and Tennessee.

But other States, according to the same study, may avoid surge in the incidence are those where restrictions have been removed slowly and selectively.

Calculations based on data from 389 districts of the United States showed that the number of cases decreased from a peak (200 a day) in the middle and the end of April to 50-75 a day by the beginning of may, Broward County, Florida, which includes Miami. The same study suggests that by the first week of June the number of daily cases will again increase to 200 per day.

A similar pattern is in the County of Rutherford, Tennessee. And in the area South-East from Nashville, Alabama, the model shows slightly more than 50 new cases per day until mid-may, but predicts more than 350 daily cases by the first week of June. Almost zero new cases by June predict in the County of Eagle, Colorado, which was badly damaged at the beginning of the pandemic. The experts also predicted a steady downward trend in new cases in Montgomery County, Maryland, which resisted broader measures to open the economy, sanctioned by the Governor of the state.

Experts warn that premature deregulation may lead to the death of thousands of Americans.

Most of the deaths could have been prevented

If the US encouraged people to stay home and introduced a policy of social distancing only a week earlier, more than half of deaths and infections could have been prevented, according to a new study from Columbia University.

And if the country has blocked two weeks earlier, 84% of deaths and 82% of infections are preventable, says the research team headed by epidemiologist Jeffrey Shaman.

“Our results emphasize the importance of early intervention and aggressive response to the pandemic Covid-19”, — they wrote in a report published online on the server MedRxiv. The results were not verified by other experts.

The first case in the United States were registered at the end of January. Only in mid-March, the administration trump has urged Americans to avoid gatherings and restrict travel. Then the cities began to close schools. The study used epidemiological modeling to estimate the level of virus transmission from March 15 to may 3, and to determine the impact of social distancing on transmission of disease.

The first days were some of the most important, experts say.

“During the initial growth of the pandemic, cases of infection increase exponentially. As a result, early intervention and quick response are of crucial importance,” they wrote.

But the truth is that nobody knows how to react to people in the early action.

“The rules of social distancing may not be immediately accepted by the society because of suboptimal awareness about the risk of infection”, — noted experts.

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