Letter: COVID contamination not being reported in RI

Posted 1/17/21

To the editor:

Why are the COVID Contaminations per day being reported as COVID percent positives, which reveals only a measure of availability of testing and does not reveal the rate of disease …

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Letter: COVID contamination not being reported in RI

Posted

To the editor:

Why are the COVID Contaminations per day being reported as COVID percent positives, which reveals only a measure of availability of testing and does not reveal the rate of disease transmission?  

The reporting of percent positives is only an indication (per day) of the number of people who tested positive for COVID divided by the total number of people who were tested, times 100%. The percent positives can be cut in half by merely doubling the availability of tests.  Does reporting the percent positives hide the horrible COVID contamination rate and make it easier to satisfy the ignorant by opening businesses that spread COVID and deaths?  

The actual COVID spread rate is indicated by the number of COVID positive tests per day, per million people; or per 100,000 people in the area, times 100% in order to express results as a percentage.  When the COVID spread rate is shown this way, then it will be a number that actually doubles when the spread rate doubles.  

RI (per the 2019 population) had 1.059 million people.  

The CDC (Center for Disease Control) Web site, https://covid.cdc.gov, lists the COVID positive per 100,000 population, by state, and shows that for the seven days ending on December 24, Rhode Island had the third worst spread of COVID at 92.1 COVID positive tests per 100K of population per day.  Only Tennessee at 119.1, and California at 105.9, has a propagation of COVID that was worse.  Hawaii had the smallest at 9.1, and Vermont had 15.4, setting the example for the other states.  

In order to reduce the spread of COVID, RI must follow the lead of Hawaii and Vermont.  RI must improve all the known COVID reduction factors by improving: mask wearing and mask efficiency (surgical masks properly worn are better than scarves or masks improperly worn); goggles and other eye protection; social distancing (10 feet is better than 6 feet when masks are worn, and 20 feet is better than 10 feet without masks); coughing, sneezing and talking increase the spread of COVID; and all gatherings must be reduced to five or less.  

The actual COVID Spread rate may be slightly lower than the CDC numbers indicate, because it is very likely that the states and the CDC do not have the ability to completely and accurately remove the retested positives from the numbers.  A person who tests positive when without symptoms, may retest to verify or correct the results and may retest positive again after having symptoms and then eliminating symptoms.  When a person who tests positive is retested and is then found positive for a second or third time they are creating multiple positives for one person with one COVID ailment.  

Roger Bennis

Tiverton

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.