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When is a test not a test?

Discussion in 'Personal' started by monicabilongame, May 22, 2020.

  1. monicabilongame

    monicabilongame Star commenter


    Tens of thousands of coronavirus tests have been double-counted, officials admit

    Two samples taken from the same patient are being recorded as two separate tests in the Government's official figures

    By Mason Boycott-Owen and Paul Nuki, Global Health Security Editor, London 21 May 2020 • 9:00pm
    Tens of thousands of Covid-19 tests have been double-counted in the Government’s official tally, public health officials have admitted.

    Diagnostic tests which involve taking saliva and nasal samples from the same patient are being counted as two tests, not one.

    The Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England each confirmed the double-counting.

    This inflates the daily reported diagnostic test numbers by over 20 per cent, with that proportion being much higher earlier on in the crisis before home test kits were added to the daily totals.

    Almost 350,000 more tests have been reported in Government data than people tested since the start of the pandemic.

    The discrepancy is in large part explained by the practice of counting salvia and nasal samples for the same individual twice.

    Public Health England oversee the testing of patients who are seriously ill in hospital, as well as the most critical key workers.

    The test involves a swab from the mouth and nose as well as a sample of saliva. Although both of these are taken from the same patient, they are counted twice by the Government in its daily data.

    It is not the first time the Government has been caught massaging the testing data. It was accused last month of including thousands of home tests which had been posted but not completed in a bid to reach its target of 100,000 tests.

    Jon Ashworth MP, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, said: “Ministers have already received an embarrassing slap on the wrists for their dodgy spin on testing figures. It seems they haven’t learnt their lesson. We need absolute transparency in the presentation of these figures”.

    The Government announced at the beginning of May that it would be extending its target from 100,000 tests per day to 200,000 tests per day. But so far it has only hit the 100,000 target nine times in the 20 days since its introduction.

    Global health experts said the Government should stop fixating on its arbitrary targets and instead focus on making testing work to drive down Covid-19 infections in the UK.

    Nicola Stonehouse, Professor of Molecular Virology at the University of Leeds, said: “I don’t think it’s helpful to be simply focused on the numbers of tests. We should concentrate on using our testing intelligently and combining testing with contact tracing."

    PHE said that there were other reasons why one person may receive more than one test.

    These included repeating a test after receiving inconclusive results and double checking a negative result.

    Devi Sridhar, Professor of Global Public Health at the University of Edinburgh, said: “Instead of fixating on the exact number of tests, we should be looking at the ratio of confirmed cases to total number of people tested (and bringing this percentage down), the speed of tests and getting results to individuals.

    "All while setting up a massive public health infrastructure with testing sites around the country for regular use by social care workers, health workers, and even towards teachers as capacity grows. The number of tests required is linked to how much transmission is occurring."

    Both Public Health England and the Department for Health and Social Care did not offer further comment.

    ACOYEAR8 Senior commenter

  3. Jamvic

    Jamvic Star commenter

  4. moscowbore

    moscowbore Star commenter

    Just adds to the distrust of politicians in general. I am amazed that the government avoids every news program and gets away with it. They have appeared on breakfast tv and been interviewed by clueless sports presenters but are never available for newsnight or channel 4 news.
    ajrowing likes this.
  5. florian gassmann

    florian gassmann Star commenter

    This has already been discussed at length in the thread "Government’s handling of Covid-19 is a very British disaster" so why does it need a new thread?

    Since the two tests are processed separately, they are obviously two separate tests (the nurse doesn't stick a swab up your nose and then shove the same swab down your throat! - they are two separate tests).

    Just adds to the ignorance of some journalists.
    Oscillatingass and Kandahar like this.
  6. shakes1616

    shakes1616 Established commenter

    Antigen testing is pointless. It might tell you that you are currently infected but the best way to know is id you get symptoms. Then just take a week or two off work. Doctors don't usually test for a viral infection. WHy should covid be any different? Most people recover from it in a week or two I heard.
  7. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    or GMB either.

    Every morning some lowly minister is sent out to do a few chosen interviews with a script to say absolutely nothing.

    Mostly what is shows is that these people should never have been ministers in the first place.
    ajrowing likes this.
  8. colpee

    colpee Star commenter

    Well worth highlighting every time we hear the goverment boasting about its testing figures. So far the testing numbers counted include:
    Tests posted but not carried out.
    Tests in transit to testing stations but not carried out.
    Carrying out two swabs on the same person
    Re-testing people frequently.

    Overall, the key point to remember is that the amount of people being tested is embarrassingly low, hence the massaging of figures .
  9. mothorchid

    mothorchid Star commenter

    It surprises me. Last week I did the home test as part of some NHS research. I was sent only one swab which was used for both nose and throat. The online film and instructions all showed one swab being used. I don't know how it is done in a test centre, but I can't think what I did would count as two tests.
    Negative, by the way.
  10. peakster

    peakster Star commenter


    My Daughter's mob now have one a week

    None of them have tested positive.
    jellycowfish, mothorchid and sodalime like this.
  11. LondonCanary

    LondonCanary Star commenter

    4th in Europe. I am suitably embarrassed and will remember you key point.
    Oscillatingass likes this.
  12. colpee

    colpee Star commenter

    For counting or cheating?:cool:
  13. gainly

    gainly Star commenter

    Actually ministers are now regularly interviewed on the Today programme on Radio 4, which they refused to appear on before Covid-19. Of course this doesn't mean they answer any of the questions.
  14. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

  15. hhhh

    hhhh Lead commenter

    Because this one kills more and is affecting everyone in the country. Many people get no symptoms. Plus if you know you have it, then some experts say you're likely to be 'safe' for a long time (which is why I'm not sure why some people are pleased they've been shown to have never had it).

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