Monday, May 04, 2020

To Test or Not to Test

You can now get tested at City MD for Covid, or for antibodies. The first test is the nasal swab they apparently stick so far up your nose you'll wish you didn't have one. In case you don't know what a swab is, it's a big old stick with cotton on the end of it. The President of the United States saw fit to show everyone what it was, and state that it was different from a Q-tip. (Actually it isn't. A Q-tip is a double sided swab that's shorter and wouldn't cause all that nasal discomfort.)

In any case, the nasal test will simply tell you whether or not you're infected. It's supposed to be pretty reliable. Doctors now seem to have it in some supply or other, and a family member who was sick got tested the other day. Of course we're way, way behind, and up until some time last week the only way to check whether or not your were infected was to sneeze on a rich person.

Alas, I don't meet rich people in my travels, which these days consist of walking my dog to the end of the Freeport Nautical Mile and back. I have this ski mask I bought at Costco last winter, and didn't get much use out of it this year until just recently. I walk around looking like a ninja. To be fair, I pull the mask off of my face unless I'm close to people.

Let's get to the second test, which is the antibodies test. This test, theoretically, will not only tell you whether or not you carry the virus, but will also tell you whether or not you've had it in the past. That's convenient for a number of reasons. For one thing, no one is sticking some big awful swab way up your nose, and that's a big plus right there.

However, we're not entirely sure how effective these tests are. It's the wild west out there, and the FDA no longer bothers to approve tests. Anyone can make them. I can go out into my garage, mix up the turpentine with whatever else I find lying around, and sell it to City MD, or anyone else who's gullible enough to buy it.

Now I don't suppose that's what they're selling at City MD, but I think I'm better off not taking the test. I'm going to assume that I've never gotten the virus, and continue to act as though it's a risk. What are you going to do? Are you dying to know? Do you think the test will be reliable enough that it might let you sashay out into the supermarket without being on the verge of breaking down in absolute terror?

Interesting days we're having.
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