0.06% of School Covid Tests Positive Last Week

In the week that all students returned to school, only 0.06% of rapid Covid tests produced positive results. The TES has the story.

Only 0.06% of the rapid Covid tests carried out in schools in the week that all pupils returned were positive, new statistics reveal.

More than 4.5 million lateral flow tests were taken in schools and colleges in the week between March 4th and March 10th according to Department of Heath statistics. 

But they only picked up 2796 positive cases.

The question is, how many of these positive results really were positive? Earlier this month, Will Jones wrote here that “mass testing in schools was always a bad idea – cruel, intrusive, pointless. The high proportion of false positives, with their needless and disruptive requirement to self-isolate, only underlines that fact”. A report in the Telegraph also explained that infection levels are now so low that the majority of positive results could be false.

Biostaticians are concerned that infections in the community are now so low, that false positives and negatives are vastly outnumbering true cases, leading to real cases being missed and families needlessly being asked to isolate.

Pupils are currently being tested twice a week for coronavirus using lateral flow devices, but real-world data has shown they miss positive cases around 50% of the time.

Worth reading in full.

Stop Press: Figures show that children returning to school has not led to a rise in Covid infections. The Telegraph has the story.

A detailed analysis by Prof Jon Deeks, an expert in biostatistics at Birmingham University, has found that the number of positive cases among pupils are far lower than ministers expected.

“The big question is why is that happening? There are two explanations,” he said. “The first is that this test doesn’t work very well in children and it doesn’t detect the cases. And the other is that asymptomatic infection is much less common in children.

“If the reason is that there aren’t many cases, then this is good news. But if the reason is that the tests are missing cases this is bad news. And if we don’t know – that is very bad news.”

Worth reading in full.

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