Coronavirus testing has increased recently. Still, there’s a lot of misinformation that continues to be spread. Here are 5 of the most popular coronavirus testing myths.
Coronavirus testing has had many ups and downs throughout the year. Now that some months have passed and testing has somehow normalized, people who have been infected with COVD-19 — or are curious if they’re asymptomatic — have been going to testing sites to get results.
Still, there’s a lot of myths that surround testing, but some are more harmful and pervasive than others. Here are 5 of the most common ones:
Negative test results are forever
A lot of people think that since they got a negative result from their coronavirus test it means that they’re somehow clean of the virus, which is crazy. COVID-19 tests provide a picture of everything up until the moment of your test. You could still contract the virus as soon as you leave the testing site.
All coronavirus tests are the same
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There are different kinds of coronavirus tests, with the most accurate one being the PCR test, which is used to detect the virus’s genetic material and can take up to a few weeks to get results due to the backlog. There’s also the antigen test, which detects specific proteins on the surface of the virus. The latter is more affordable and faster, but there’s a 30% chance of false negatives.
You can get tested any time after exposure
This one is kind of complicated to explain, but because the virus takes some days to develop within your system, it’s possible for you to get a test soon after exposure and get a negative result, all the while developing the disease a couple of days later. “The incubation period of the virus is anywhere from four to 14 days, and most of the people have been developing symptoms around five to six days into the infection,” explains Dr. Sunitha D. Posina in an interview with Bustle. This is why health officials ask that you quarantine yourself for 14 days after getting a negative result if you’re planning to visit relatives or spend time with friends.
For an accurate reading, it’s best to wait until you have symptoms and then get the test.
No symptoms, no test
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While it’s understandable to avoid a test if you don’t need to, it’s important for people who think that they’ve been exposed to the virus to get tested. These tests help the state get an accurate picture of the pandemic and will also decrease the risk of you exposing others, since you may be asymptomatic.
Kids don’t need to get tested
Even if kids are less susceptible to COVID-19, they can still spread the virus. While they are less likely to spread the virus in the same way as an adult does, kids are also more lax about sanitary precautions, washing their hands and wearing masks less often. Consult with your doctor and discuss the best way forward according to your child’s case.