How Often Does A False Positive Covid-19 Test Result Happen?
Problematic to say in the least.
The words FALSE POSITIVE are never a good thing.
Pregnancy, HIV, and now with Covid-19.
We have recently had two relatively high profile false positive covid test results.
First up we have Detroit Lions QB Matt Stafford. And the way the NFL handled it, both he and his wife are upset. Kelly went off and talked about how the news of the false positive lead people to treat her and her kids very poorly.
Then we have Ohio Governor Mike DeWine who tested positive before he was supposed to meet the president. And in 24 hours, he tested negative. Another false positive.
So what gives and how does this happen. How often?
What does it mean if I have a positive test result? If you have a positive test result, it is very likely that you have COVID-19. There is a very small chance that this test can give a positive result that is wrong (a false positive result). Your healthcare provider will work with you to determine how best to care for you based on the test results, medical history, and your symptoms. (FDA)
False-positive result. The test result is positive, but you actually don't have antibodies and you did not have an infection in the past. A false-positive result could give you a false sense of security that you're protected from getting another COVID-19 infection — and even with a true positive result, immunity is questionable. (Mayo Clinic)
So from the FDA and Mayo Clinic, the answers aren't necessarily...answers to the how often this happens.
And according to this interview, when it comes to false negatives and false positives, there really is no way to tell right now exactly how common they are.
And according to a doctor in Lexington:
"That's the sensitivity, so if the disease is there, the sensitivity is the chance the test will be positive if the disease is present."Meaning the tests, typically called PCR tests, sometimes pick up on other coronaviruses, like the common cold. Dr. Stanton said while false positives happen, they aren't that common. (WKYT)
So the final takeaway is this. The tests are still relatively new. And sensitive. And false positives occur. According to some not as often as false negatives but they happen. If you get a negative and you still have symptoms, get retested. If you get a positive, get retested.
If they can't get the testing right I don't feel real good about them getting a vaccine right to give me for a positive test that might not be true.
This is so confusing. For something that really needs to as clear cut and exact as possible.