CDC Issues New Guidance on Coronavirus on Surfaces

Grant Boone
May 22, 2020

Heads up, expectant women: If you have tested positive for COVID-19, you baby should also be tested for the novel virus shortly after birth, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in new guidelines issued this week.

First reported by NPR's WLRN station in Miaimi, the practice has drawn ire from US health experts who say combining the tests inhibits the agency's ability to discern the country's actual testing capacity.

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"We are still learning about how the virus spreads and the severity of illness it causes", the CDC said. They are what state governments have been counting to track the number of confirmed cases of the virus they have. And as the tests serve profoundly different purposes, "positive" results from either test can not be interpreted in the same way.

A positive COVID-19 test means a person is now carrying the coronavirus, while a positive antibody test suggests the individual has been infected in the past. These tests allow doctors to see if someone has previously been exposed to the virus. The tests, although not 100% accurate, can reveal whether a given patient has an active COVID-19 infection right now, at the time of testing. A negative PCR test indicates to physicians that the patient isn't now ill with the disease.

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He'll be like, 'Wow, you look wonderful , '" she said. I feel like I am too much of a control freak. Me personally, it terrifies me.

"Covid-19 may be spread by people who are not showing symptoms". Virginia was also combining antibody and viral tests until local newspapers reported on it. "The two tests are totally different signals", Jha told The Atlantic.

In a new story out Thursday, The Atlantic reports that the CDC has apparently been conflating two different kinds of tests, writing that the agency "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".

When asked about the mess-up, CDC spokesperson Kristen Nordlund said that the agency "hopes" to separate the data on their COVID Data Tracker within the next few weeks.

The combining of the tests could lead to the skewing of the overall positivity rate of the test, a measurement that is one of the benchmarks used in the reopening guidelines released by the White House and CDC.

Combining these two signals makes the data hard to interpret and could be misleading to the public, because the combined number does not reflect the rate of new infection (and the number of infectious people circulating) in their region, William Hanage, an epidemiology professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, told The Atlantic.

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