Testing is “one of the biggest misconceptions that people have about COVID,” Dr. Ranit Mishori of Georgetown University told the PBS NewsHour’s John Yang in a conversation on Nov. 23. Rather than being a free pass to travel or socialize freely, tests instead mark a single moment in time.
If you get a negative result, that means your body wasn’t producing enough virus to show up on a test when you took it. But that can change in a matter of days, or even hours, if you’ve been exposed to the virus.
Mishori noted that tests are useful for physicians and public health officials because it allows them to let infected people know that they should isolate, and also notify their contacts through contact tracing.
“[Tests] are just one piece of the puzzle of mitigation and prevention of COVID,” Mishori said. “Testing is useful only when accompanied by limiting travel, limiting socializing, limiting gatherings and wearing a mask at all times.”
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