- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 22, 2020

This coronavirus is a sneaky devil. So sneaky, in fact, that it can even infiltrate test kits of individuals who’ve not even submitted to being tested and then alert authorities to add these new positives, as they’re then deemed, to COVID-19 case counts.

Sneaky.

Hmm. Or not.

Here’s a different notion: Maybe it’s the testing site administrators who are the sneaky devils.

Either way, in Florida, something strange is happening with the coronavirus counts, that’s for sure.



Local news reports that several individuals have tested positive for the coronavirus — despite never having taken the test.

“For [these] to come back positive, when there was no specimen submitted, is problematic,” said Gov. Ron DeSantis, Fox 13 Tampa Bay reported.

There’s an understatement.

DeSantis has tasked the Department of Health to look into the “mix-up,” as Fox 13’s headline termed it.

America anxiously awaits the answer.

“How does someone test positive for coronavirus if they have never been tested? Reports of this happening have been pouring into Fox 35 News since we began investigating COVID-19 data,” the local news outlet wrote. “People are claiming they went to get tested but for various reasons, had to leave before they were swabbed.”

In other words: They went to a testing site, began the process of filing out forms and inputting their names, addresses, basic personal information, but then left before the actual test took place — only to learn they were then added to the “coronavirus positive” count.

It’s a mystery, all right.

Fox 13 opined through a source that perhaps when the individual left the line, the testing authorities automatically reclassify the next in line as the number of the person who left and “mistakenly” put in the wrong name.

“They probably figure it out after one or two and say we got it wrong,” the source said to Fox 13, “so they catch up [and fix it], but one or two people wind up getting somebody else’s test results.”

OK.

But that doesn’t make the coronavirus positive test counts any more accurate.

Remember this? “CNN and 11 states acknowledge mixing results of viral and antibody tests,” CNN reported in May. “The CDC says it’s planning to separate those numbers in the coming weeks, but experts say the current method is unhelpful and potentially misleading. That’s because antibody tests aren’t used to diagnose current infection or determine whether someone is potentially contagious. Instead, they indicate whether someone has been exposed to the virus in the past.”

Which changes the numbers.

Which skews the counts. 

Which makes the numbers untrustworthy.

And that’s the whole issue with this coronavirus chaos that’s shutting down the country, killing the economy, closing schools, keeping church congregations from gathering and singing in worship, and face-masking an entire nation of free citizens: The numbers aren’t accurate. They haven’t been from the get-go. They aren’t now.

The numbers and statistics and percentages just can’t be trusted.

Hospitals report cases one way; governors report cases another way; federal health bureaucrats interpret numbers yet another way; computer models and best-guesses and what-ifs guide the numbers yet even another way.

This Florida story just adds another question mark to the scores of question marks that hover over the entire COVID-19 madness.

And no doubt, like all the other questions, this is one that won’t be answered until well after the coronavirus has moved on — until well after America has been reshaped, repackaged and repurposed into something that’s not very American at all — until well after our individual, civil and God-given rights have been refashioned into a “new normal” of collectivism.

Then we’ll learn: It was all, oops, a simple mistake.

• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com or on Twitter, @ckchumley. Listen to her podcast “Bold and Blunt” by clicking HERE. And never miss her column; subscribe to her newsletter by clicking HERE.

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