Friday, May 15, 2020

May 15 Update: US COVID-19 Test Results

by Calculated Risk on 5/15/2020 05:50:00 PM

The COVID Tracking Project put out an important statement today: Position Statement on Antibody Data Reporting

Earlier this week, we learned that for several weeks, the Commonwealth of Virginia has been combining viral test data with antibody test data in their public reporting on COVID-19. Virginia officials suggested that other states were pooling these two types of results so that, in essence, Virginia was forced to combine them to keep up.

On May 13, 2020, we contacted 44 states and territories without clear statements about their antibody test reporting policy. As of May 15, we have confirmed that at least two states besides Virginia have been combining antibody and viral test results, though only Virginia's health department is on the record about combining their testing datasets. If more states are, in fact, combining viral and antibody results, we understand that they are making a choice that appears to increase their test totals. But we think it comes at much too high a price.

As antibody tests become more widely available across the United States, every state and territory will have to choose how to report this data to the public. We encourage all states and territories to standardize on reporting antibody and viral test results separately and fully, allowing government departments, journalists, and members of the public to maintain access to the most meaningful numbers throughout the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States.
emphasis added
This means the number of tests being reported is too high, and the percent positive is probably higher than being reported. Hopefully the states will separate the tests in all reporting.

The US might be able to test 400,000 to 600,000 people per day sometime in May according to Dr. Fauci - and that might be enough for test and trace.

However, the US might need more than 900,000 tests per day according to Dr. Jha of Harvard's Global Health Institute.

There were 378,410 test results reported over the last 24 hours.

COVID-19 Tests per Day Click on graph for larger image.

This data is from the COVID Tracking Project.

The percent positive over the last 24 hours was 6.9% (red line). The US probably needs enough tests to keep  the percentage positive well below 5%. (probably much lower based on testing in New Zealand).