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Three days of coronavirus testing for Dedham residents begins Sunday

Fallon Ambulance is setting up a Covid-19 testing site at the bucolic Endicott Estate, 656 East St., now that the town has made the state's list of "red" towns, likely due to some local teenagers who couldn't resist partying like it was the Before Times.

The testing, which is free for Dedham residents, will be open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday, 8 am. to noon on Monday and 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday.

Residents do not need to have symptoms to get tested, the town says. In fact, the town is urging everybody to get tested, both so the town can detect any additional cases and begin care for both them and anybody they might have been in close contact with, and to get a better idea of just how the virus has or hasn't spread through the town.

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"... get a better idea of just how the virus has or hasn't spread through the town."

The NYT August 29...

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/29/health/coronavirus-testing.html

But, to get to the punchline, scroll down about a dozen paragraphs:

"In three sets of testing data that include cycle thresholds, compiled by officials in Massachusetts, New York and Nevada, up to 90 percent of people testing positive carried barely any virus, a review by The Times found."

Plenty of information in the article.

"On Thursday, the United States recorded 45,604 new coronavirus cases, according to a database maintained by The Times. If the rates of contagiousness in Massachusetts and New York were to apply nationwide, then perhaps only 4,500 of those people may actually need to isolate and submit to contact tracing."

"“The decision not to test asymptomatic people is just really backward,” said Dr. Michael Mina, an epidemiologist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, referring to the C.D.C. recommendation.

“In fact, we should be ramping up testing of all different people,” he said, “but we have to do it through whole different mechanisms.”

In what may be a step in this direction, the Trump administration announced on Thursday that it would purchase 150 million rapid tests."

"In Massachusetts, from 85 to 90 percent of people who tested positive in July with a cycle threshold of 40 would have been deemed negative if the threshold were 30 cycles, Dr. Mina said. “I would say that none of those people should be contact-traced, not one,” he said."

So, Really Smart People, just what the hell is going on? Is the testing just really poorly designed to give (in the opinion of Harvard researchers) insane positive results? Was it done accidentally? On purpose?

You are not instilling confidence in us stupids...

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As a health researcher, I was very unhappy with that article (as I often am with NYT health coverage). There were no quotes from researchers who disagree with Mina et al. (and I know they exist) and no attempt to give the other side of the question.

Mina is a big proponent of using cheaper testing with immediate results that isn't as sensitive (i.e., misses low viral loads) but is affordable enough to be done multiple times/week. When you do that sort of repeated testing then it's fine to miss those who aren't yet contagious. However, many or most of those who are detected with low viral loads via PCR will have higher ones within a couple of days and then be contagious.

Just because someone is at Harvard (or MIT or Stanford or...) doesn't mean they're always right. There are multiple points of view in the Harvard epidemiology department and everywhere else on questions like this.

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Voting closed 32

It's this type of 'hey, no real consensus yet' or honest disagreements that drive science to finding true answers to questions.

I think one of the problems here is the severe politicization of the issue at hand. It's all about Trump 24/7.

An example...he, a while back, mentioned an inexpensive anti-malarial drug as a possible prophylactic. Well, we know how that went.

He mentioned the use of disinfectants, as was being researched at the time. Dems posted memes of mainlining bleach.

He mentioned the use of UVC light to kill the virus. I've seen pictures of the research apparatus. It was legitimate.

One of the Really Smart People here kicked the absolute shit out of that idea, ridiculed it and pompously informed me to 'stay in my own lane'.

So, here we are. Why should I believe a fucking word they say?

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You should put some effort into understanding how all this works?

Nah. Much easier to bitch and moan about things you don't like and glom onto editorials than to learn scientific facts and all that icky nerd stuff.

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The problem with the PCR tests generally has been that they have a very high susceptibility (the false positive rate is very low), but a so-so sensitivity (false negative rate is high). If a person has a low viral load, they still have the virus, so either they're about to start spreading it and should quarantine, or they're getting over it and their contacts need to be traced.

To get an accurate picture of the spread, we actually need a more sensitive test (or more frequent testing), since as it is it's possible for the PCR test to miss a lot of cases. On an individual level, getting a negative result is more of a "maybe" than a "no", and should be handled as such with regards to contact with others.

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So, Really Smart People, just what the hell is going on? Is the testing just really poorly designed to give (in the opinion of Harvard researchers) insane positive results? Was it done accidentally? On purpose?

You are not instilling confidence in us stupids...

why does it have to be Really Smart People vs. Stupids? some people are trained in public health and others aren’t. the fact is that COVID is a complex problem with no simple solution and there will be divergent opinions in the public health community while they try to figure it out. i just can’t fathom how being hostile toward them is at all productive.

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"the fact is that COVID is a complex problem with no simple solution and there will be divergent opinions in the public health community while they try to figure it out. "

Just as long as the ideas to fight it are not coming from the White House.

Here's the problem...the Really Smart People have been lecturing us, hectoring us and insulting us through this whole clusterfuck. They post the lawn signs that say 'I Believe in Science' and yet when it come to actual scientists, a musician is now lecturing me on how my hostility to the insufferable levels of bullshit heaped upon the average American is hurting the cause.

To paraphrase someone here who has all the answers (and with a hat tip to John Cos), 'Stay in your own lane, oboe man'.

The truth of the matter? Yes, you make a point, but see my point. Virtually every post I make here the same three or four people show up to take cheap shots at it. It's fun, but ultimately kinda gets old. They don't argue the post on its merits. They just make cheap ad-hominem attacks because mostly, as the Stupid People say, 'They got nuttin''.

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Voting closed 14

Aka trying to explain an uncomfortable reality, gettting batshit crazy nonsense and "but but SWWEEEEDEN" in response, then getting annoyed and calling out the stupid political agenda and/or idiotic racism that is being flogged with smells like science for what it is.

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Voting closed 14

Just as long as the ideas to fight it are not coming from the White House.

call me when the white house employs an actual scientist.

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