How Accurate is the COVID-19 Test?

covid false negative test accuracy rate

The doctor said that he is “highly suspicious” that my brother has COVID, even though the first two tests came back negative. So after learning this, I tried to find out how sensitive the COVID-19 tests are.

I really have no answers for how valid they are, except that they are not FDA approved because they were developed in an emergency circumstance. That means they were developed under laboratory circumstances and not tested in real life situations.

So nobody really knows how well they perform in “real” life outside of a lab.

I’ve been reading whatever I can get my hands on about the accuracy, but there’s not much out there. Apparently the typical false negative rate for other tests is typically about 10-15%.

So, based on my brother’s progression, his symptoms and the timeline, and the fact that the doctors can’t figure out the mystery of “what happened” to him…it’s interesting that his tests are negative.

And I wonder how many people are out there who have the virus but aren’t being counted in the total confirmed cases?

For my brother, it doesn’t really matter because they’re treating him for COVID regardless. So a positive result wouldn’t change the type of care he’s receiving. He’s right there with all the intubated COVID patients, getting the same course of treatment.

It’s just unnerving knowing that as many as 10% of people who are hospitalized may not be counted as a confirmed case.

I know first hand that tests aren’t always accurate because my daughter was caught up in the Swine Flu pandemic back in 2009.

She was hospitalized for Swine Flu because her test was positive. She was there almost a week, but it turns out she only had a kidney infection.

So I really don’t trust my brother’s results. I trust the doctor because he’s the one caring COVID patients, and he knows first hand and better than everyone else in the public how the virus attacks, when it attacks, and the path it will take.

He saved my brother’s life and that’s a definitely a positive!

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