The vast majority of the nearly 6 million coronavirus diagnoses in the United States likely were not contagious, according to the New York Times.
Despite continued widespread COVID-19 panic, which includes many virus-related restrictions, up to 90% of individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 potentially carried such “insignificant” amounts of the virus that they were not contagious, the Times reported.
The most widely used diagnostic test for COVID-19 is called the PCR test, which, according to the FDA, tests for the virus’ genetic material.
The problem with the test is that it only reports the presence of the genetic material being searched. It does not report the amount of genetic material, meaning individuals with such insignificant levels of COVID-19 genetic material will still test positive even if they aren’t really sick.
From the Times: The PCR test amplifies genetic matter from the virus in cycles; the fewer cycles required, the greater the amount of virus, or viral load, in the sample. The greater the viral load, the more likely the patient is to be contagious. This number of amplification cycles needed to find the virus, called the cycle threshold, is never included in the results sent to doctors and coronavirus patients, although it could tell them how infectious the patients are. 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. – READ MORE