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NYT: Up to 90% of people who test positive for COVID-19 'are no longer contagious and don’t need to isolate'

The New York Times is out with a bombshell, and we do mean bombshell, of an article on COVID-19 that suggests we’ve been doing testing all wrong and up to 90% of the people who test positive for the virus might have viral loads so low that they “are no longer contagious and don’t need to isolate”


The reporter, Apoorva Mandavilli, tweets, “It turns out that the PCR, that old reliable workhorse, is both too slow and too sensitive for what we need”:

In a nutshell, the PCR test is run in cycles and the more cycles it takes to get a positive result, the less virus you have in your system:


In the U.S., the machines are calibrated at between 37 to 40 cycles, which, according to this report, is way too sensitive:

Note: We don’t have the numbers for every country, but India’s threshold is only 35:

A reasonable cycle threshold should be around 30:

The implications of this are massive:


We’re figuratively (and quite possibly literally) letting our neighborhoods burn down:

The argument here is we need the FDA to approve “rapid, less sensitive tests”:

What’s worse is that these labs aren’t even reporting back the number of cycles it takes to get a positive test, only yes or no:

You can read the entire piece here:


Some excerpts:




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