Beyond the numbers

As of this writing there have been just over 43,000 tests for Covid-19 in Arizona, and 8% were positive, which means that 92% were negative. Does a 92% negative rate indicate progress?

Let’s hope so, but of course with these numbers we don’t always know about “false negative” results. False negative results, are the ones where the patient is positive for a disease, but due to test limitations, the test comes up negative. when it should have read positive. Test makers are always trying to make their tests more sensitive, which means that if you have a positive result it is truly positive. Likewise, you want to be assured, that if you test negative for disease, you truly don’t have it.

Nationally, looking at the negative results, it’s a little unclear, how many of the “negative” results are tests of symptom-free close contacts or family members of patients positive for Covid-19. Perhaps many of these “negative” results here in Tucson, are the result of other viruses, bacterial pneumonia, or Valley fever. With common symptoms such as fever, cough, malaise, and joint pain, we shouldn’t forget Valley fever in this area, and should consider testing for that as well.

Time will tell, as this initial flood of information over this novel coronavirus is eventually analyzed. In the meantime, maintain your social distance, and wear a facemask when recommended or required, and certainly self isolate if you not feeling well.