WSJ: US Coronavirus Test Is Only 60-70% Accurate

Kostas Lymperopoulos/CSM via ZUMA

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Say what?

Health experts say they now believe nearly one in three patients who are infected are nevertheless getting a negative test result. They caution that only limited data is available, and their estimates are based on their own experience in the absence of hard science.

That picture is troubling, many doctors say, as it casts doubt on the reliability of a wave of new tests developed by manufacturers, lab companies and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Most of these are operating with minimal regulatory oversight and little time to do robust studies amid a desperate call for wider testing.

WTF is going on? Our test is still inaccurate. The WHO test is apparently very accurate, but it’s available only to low-income countries. The Chinese test is questionable. The German test is . . . who knows?

This is insane. How long will it take the richest country in the world to develop a coronavirus test that’s (a) accurate and (b) can be produced in the millions?

And what’s up with the WHO test, anyway? Maybe they focus on providing test kits to poor countries, but that doesn’t mean they can’t give rich countries the specifications for their test and then let them manufacture it. Why not do that?

Every time this comes up, it seems like “we’re really close” and there’s no need for the WHO test. How about if this time we just go ahead and set up a track to manufacture it? Worst case, we don’t need it and it’s a tiny bit of wasted effort. Best case, it saves our skins. That’s a pretty easy tradeoff.

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We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

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