States combine test results, skewing data

States combine test results, skewing data

Posted on 05/22/2020

Transcript

Health officials in at least four states have been combining COVID-19 data from two different test results, which potentially gives an inaccurate picture of where and when the virus spread.

Texas, Virginia, Georgia and Vermont have said they've been adding two numbers to the totals: viral test and antibody test.

Viral tests are taken by nose swab or saliva sample and look for direct evidence someone currently has COVID-19.

Antibody tests uses blood samples to tell if a person has been exposed to the virus in the past.

Texas, Virginia and Vermont have all said they recognize the data issue and moved to fix in the past few days.

Health officials in Georgia say they've been adding the tests to their daily totals since April in line with guidance from the CDC.

On the CDC's website the database provides daily test results without a breakdown of whether they're viral or antibody.

Posted - 5.21.20