(TargetLiberty.org) – Over the weekend of August 22-23, 77 professional football players and staff from 11 different NFL teams tested positive for COVID-19. Because of those positive tests, teams changed their practice schedules on Sunday, and the affected individuals stayed home and attended meetings virtually.
But then something interesting happened: the NFL decided to retest the samples. Every one of them came back negative on the second test.
The NFL uses a company called BioReference to do all of its daily testing. According to BioReference, the false positives occurred because of “isolated contamination.” They say the incident happened while the tests were being prepared in its New Jersey lab.
In a statement released on Monday, the company said the problem at the lab had been resolved. It assured all of the people affected had been informed and then confirmed negative with subsequent tests.
Because of this coronavirus scare, the league is now working with the lab on finding new ways to retest players and staff immediately. That would take away the lag time. This will be especially important once the NFL’s regular season begins. Speedy turnaround time on the tests, and in particular the retests, could mean the difference between playing and postponing or canceling games.
All of the 77 tests were negative on the re-test. Plus, the NFL is working with the lab on ways to re-test immediately so there is no lag time, no wait as was the case this weekend. https://t.co/gKdk2JjfQu
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 24, 2020
The Bigger Concern
This incidence set off alarm bells throughout the sports world. But, it also raises some serious concerns about the overall reliability of the tests. Local and state governments are using COVID-19 data to make policy decisions. So, what if that data is incorrect?
There’s no way to know at this point how many tests being taken by everyday Americans have shown false positives.
There have been reports from all over the country of people being told they tested positive when they never even took a test. There’s also been a problem with deaths being attributed to COVID despite no evidence that the virus was the cause of death.
Plus, if these tests are producing a high number of false positives, how many false negatives are occurring? That could be even more dangerous if people think they’re safe and then interact with others without taking precautions.
The bottom line is that we need to do a better job with testing and retesting. And, that means not just for professional athletes, but for all of us.
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