Gov DeWine and the Fallacy of "Positive" Coronavirus Tests

Americans have been raised on a generation of movies and TV shows where test results are a matter of pushing a button.

Run a slide with a fingerprint through a database and instantly a result flashes on the screen with a match. Send away for an ancestry kit and you'll immediately get the right results. Don't you believe in science?

In real life, results are much more fallible. Especially when multiple companies are in a rush to throw together tests for mass use as cheaply as possible.

A more sensitive coronavirus test has determined that Gov. Mike DeWine does not have COVID-19, his office announced Thursday night.

A rapid test before DeWine was scheduled to greet President Donald Trump in Cleveland determined he was positive for the virus. A second, more-proven test administered later Thursday in Columbus produced a negative result.

“The PCR tests for the Governor, First Lady, and staff were run two times. They came back negative the first time and came back negative when they were run on a second diagnostic platform,” DeWine’s office said.

Wuhan Virus tests have been treated as infallible. They're obviously not. No adult who understands how these things work thinks they are, but a significant percent of the country mainlining CNN like a drug think that's exactly how it works and only horrible non-mask wearing Republicans think otherwise, and eagerly gobble up media content falsely claiming that this would all be over if Trump had just worn a mask earlier and if we had more testing, contact tracing, and rain dances in Times Square.

Real science isn't magic. Our ability to conduct measurements is not infallible. Stuff happens. 

America has been doing a lot of testing, but it's hard to say how much use that's been or how valid the results are. Some people, like Governor DeWine, have the ability to check the results by quickly doing another test. Most people who have been tested won't be doing that. They'll just accept the results.

 

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