Problems With Covid Testing Persist
False test results, consequences of delays and now confusion with colds and flu plague the response to COVID. Also, more news on how the sports industry is dealing with testing.
Lab That Provided False Covid Test Results Faces License Threat
A company that performed Covid-19 tests for dozens of Massachusetts nursing homes is facing federal sanctions, including the possible loss of its license, for lab practices that resulted in “immediate jeopardy to patient health and safety.” Last month, Bloomberg News reported that the company, Orig3n Inc., a consumer DNA-testing company that pivoted to Covid-19 testing amid the pandemic, was responsible for hundreds of false positive results at nursing homes across the state. (Brown, 10/16)
Coronavirus Testing Delays Still Prevent Effective Disease Control, Survey Finds
People are getting the results of coronavirus tests in the U.S. faster than they were in the spring, but testing still takes far too long to help effective disease control measures such as contact tracing and quarantining, according to the results of a large national survey. The survey, which is conducted monthly by a consortium of researchers from Northeastern, Northwestern, Harvard and Rutgers universities, also finds that Hispanics and African-Americans are waiting about a day longer than whites on average, underscoring yet another way the pandemic is hitting minorities harder. (Stein, 10/19)
In other testing news —
COVID Test Sales Don't Tell The Whole Story At Abbott Labs
Strong demand for novel coronavirus tests is propping up Abbott Laboratories, obscuring downturns in the company's other business segments. Without surging sales of COVID-19 tests, the North Chicago medical device maker's 8% second-quarter revenue decline would have been twice as bad. Sales are down sharply in the company's medical device and drug businesses, and flat in its nutritionals unit. (Goldberg, 10/17)
Hard Hit By Virus, Airlines Push For Tests Over Quarantines
What will it take to get people flying again? International air traffic is down 92% this year as travelers worry about catching COVID-19 and government travel bans and quarantine rules make planning difficult. One thing airlines believe could help is to have rapid virus tests of all passengers before departure. Scattered experiments on improving safety are under way around the world, and a UN organization is leading talks to set guidelines. There is a lot at stake. With no end in sight to the pandemic, the near total halt to international travel will hinder economies as they try to bounce back from recession and return to normal levels of business activity. Millions of jobs - at airlines, airports and travel related businesses such as hotels and restaurants - are affected. (McHugh, 10/19)
The Washington Post:
Should You Get A Covid-19 Test If You Have A Cold?
If you fell ill last winter, it probably didn’t really matter whether your sore throat and sniffles were the result of a cold or the flu. This year, with covid-19 added to the mix of look-alike winter maladies, it’s more important to know which virus is causing your illness, because the coronavirus is so contagious and can result in such serious outcomes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that people with any symptoms of covid-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, be considered for testing. However, not all experts agree that those with mild symptoms resembling a cold should. (Chang, 10/16)
In sports news —
The New York Times:
After Alabama Says Nick Saban Does Not Have Coronavirus, He Coaches A Game
Nick Saban, the college football coach who revived Alabama into a national power, returned to work on Saturday — just in time for one of the most important games of the season — after doctors said that he had not been infected with the coronavirus after all. (Blinder, 10/17)
Florida Coach Dan Mullen Tests Positive For COVID-19 Days After Pleas For Fans To 'Pack The Swamp'
Florida coach Dan Mullen has tested positive for COVID-19, he confirmed in a statement on Saturday. Mullen said he’s isolating from his family and he’s experiencing “mild to no symptoms.” Mullen’s positive test comes amid an outbreak of staff and players that’s amounted to more than 20 positive tests. Florida’s game against LSU scheduled for Saturday had already been postponed, as the school announced on Wednesday that it didn’t have enough players to play. (Thamel, 10/17)
Purdue Boilermakers Say Football Coach Jeff Brohm Has Presumed Positive Coronavirus Test
Purdue football coach Jeff Brohm had a presumed positive test for the coronavirus on Sunday, the school announced. Brohm, who is at home in isolation, is undergoing a PCR test to confirm the results of an antigen test. He is expected to speak with reporters during his regularly scheduled Zoom call Monday morning. The Boilermakers are scheduled to host Iowa on Saturday as the Big Ten Conference begins its virus-delayed, eight-game, conference-only season. (10/18)