Q&A Of The Day – Are Cold & Flu Viruses Being Counted As COVID-19 Cases? Part 2
Bottom Line: Earlier this year a study posted by the National Institutes of Health, which aggregated data from 16 studies of PCR accuracy for COVID-19 detection found the following:
- Sputum (saliva/mucus) based COVID-19 tests were 97.2% effective
Sputum based PCR tests were easily the most effective for the accurate detection of COVID-19. In the summation of the study, they were referred to as the gold standard. Just as all masks and vaccines aren’t equally effective, or perfect, nor are all COVID-19 tests. That being said, the best masks, N-95, are 96% effective at stopping the spread of COVID-19. The best vaccine known for prevention of COVID-19 at any time during the pandemic has been 95%. These PCR tests have proven more effective than even the best masks and best vaccinations – so that’s pretty darn good. Because nothing is perfect, you’ll be able to find examples to support a position if you choose to stake out a position.
What we also know, getting back to the original question/point, is that at most, the error rate for detection of COVID-19 as potentially a cold or flu virus is at most 2.8%. So yes, there are likely regular examples of false positives for COVID-19 that are instead another virus. But even if that were the case with the entire margin of error it doesn’t scratch the surface of explaining the number of people who’ve been hospitalized and those who’ve died from a virus. Florida’s also not had a significant summer influenza outbreak independent of a pandemic.
The fact still remains that most of the time, in fact almost all of the time, an N-95 mask will help you not catch COVID-19 if you’re in close contact with someone who has it, a Moderna vaccine will help you avoid contracting COVID-19 along with the worst symptoms and if you do and a PCR oral/nasal test will net you an accurate result.