More Testing?

September 14, 2020

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Anchor lead: Should testing for Covid-19 occur more or less often? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Fewer people should be tested for Covid-19, federal officials stated recently. Aaron Milstone, an infectious disease expert at Johns Hopkins, says there really are two sides to this argument over testing.

Milstone: Some people believe that the sooner you identify someone that the more they’ll take it seriously. The other argument is if you’re exposed and we test you and you’re negative, then you’re not going to take it seriously and people will think I don’t have Covid and I can go to my friend’s house and they may ignore those quarantine recommendations. I do see that there are two clear sides to this. There may be value in recommending testing for people who are asymptomatic yet exposed to Covid but there may be an unintended harm in that in giving people false reassurance that they are clear and free.  :34

Milstone notes that the picture is further complicated by the fact that some tests are not very accurate so may give an untrustworthy result, and says over time, greater reliability will be developed. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.

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