Cities, counties and states around the country are probably on heightened alert for unauthorized pop-up COVID-19 testing operations after San Diego County took steps to shut down one such clinic Wednesday, lest a bogus test give someone a false result and jeopardize public health.
As the number of SARS-CoV-2 infections and deaths due to the COVID-19 disease increase daily nationwide, journalists are asking why the United States lags so far behind other countries in introducing clinical laboratory tests for the virus that causes the illness.
Some strong examples of such coverage in the last few days include “11 to 100,000: What went wrong with coronavirus testing in the U.S.?,” by Meg Kelly, Sarah Cahlan and Elyse Samuels at The Washington Post on March 30, and “The Lost Month: How a Failure to Test Blinded the U.S. to Covid-19,” by Michael D. Shear, Abby Goodnough, Sheila Kaplan, Sheri Fink, Katie Thoma s and Noah Weiland at The New York Times on March 28. Continue reading
The just-passed multibillion-dollar Families First Coronavirus Response Act includes free diagnostic testing for the new COVID-19 illness — for those fortunate enough to get a test if needed. The law also includes paid sick leave, nutrition assistance and boosts unemployment benefits for Americans out of work due to the pandemic, as Barbara Sprunt reported for NPR.
President Trump signed the bill into law after the U.S. Senate passed it on Wednesday. The House of Representatives had approved it the previous week. Continue reading
In December 2016, Charles Piller (@cpiller), the west coast editor for Stat, reported that a genetic test to identify patients who could be prone to addiction lacked a firm scientific basis.
With an eye-opening headline, “Called ‘hogwash,’ a gene test for addiction risk exploits opioid fears,” the article raised important questions about the Proove Opioid Risk test from Proove Biosciences in Irvine, Calif. Continue reading
Something happened in our family early in August that set me behind in my work for more than three months. What we experienced holds an important lesson for health journalists.
It is something seemingly small and simple, but with significant potential consequences. However, I need to provide a bit of context in my story to illustrate a phenomenon journalists need to keep in mind when reporting on screening and diagnostic tests. Continue reading
Last fall, I was fortunate to hear journalist Ellen Gabler give a presentation about one of her investigations to a gathering of administrators, executives and pathologists in the clinical laboratory industry.
The session at Lab Quality Confab in New Orleans was unusual because journalists rarely are invited to talk about their work before the industry they cover. Continue reading