Doherty Asks Governor to Update How Positive COVID-19 Tests Are Reported to Minimize Unnecessary Disruption to the Lives of New Jerseyans
Says Studies Demonstrate How to Identify “Positive” Cases that Aren’t Infectious
Senator Michael Doherty sent a letter (click here for PDF) to Governor Phil Murphy today calling for the State to change the reporting requirements for positive COVID-19 tests to include information which may help determine whether a quarantine period is necessary for the person who has tested positive and their close contacts.
“New Jerseyans have been subjected to Governor Murphy’s overbearing restrictions and quarantine orders that we were told not to question because the science was ‘undisputed,’” said Doherty (R-23). “There is a growing body of research from respected institutions, however, that clearly demonstrates that many people who test positive are not actually infectious. Further, they’ve shown how it’s possible to identify which positive results can be safely ignored without causing an unnecessary disruption to people’s lives. If Governor Murphy truly believes in the science and wants to do what’s right for New Jersey, he should do what Florida just did and update how positive COVID-19 results are reported.”
The full text of the letter is below:
Dear Governor Murphy,
I am writing to share serious and well-reasoned concerns relayed to me by a constituent regarding COVID-19 testing and reporting practices in New Jersey.
Back in August, the New York Times published an article on current testing practices which found that states were reporting as positive tests many instances in which the Viral Cycle Threshold count for a sample was beyond the limit for which someone would be infectious and able to spread COVID-19.
The Viral Cycle Threshold Count refers to the level of magnification it takes to pick up traces of a virus. Beyond a certain level of magnification, what is detected is merely a dead viral artifact from a previous infection that is not capable of spreading the disease to others.
Oxford University released a systematic review this month concluding that anything with a Viral Cycle Threshold above 30 magnifications is not infectious. Their findings are similar to what other data on the matter has shown in which any positive test beyond 30-35 Cycle Thresholds are not infectious.
Despite this, as the Times article pointed out, many states are counting Viral Cycle Thresholds up to 37-40 magnifications as a positive COVID case, requiring the person tested and their close contacts to quarantine unnecessarily.
Dr. Andrew Bostom, an epidemiologist at Brown University, has tracked more than 26,000 “positive” tests among college students and not found a single hospitalization. He has echoed the concerns that overly sensitive testing is identifying people as positive who pose no risk of transmitting the virus to others.
Depending on the state, the Times reported that the false positive rate was between 45-90%. This insanity in our testing is leading to thousands of people being inhumanely forced to quarantine despite not being sick or capable of making other people sick. This is driving a lot of the false panic that is hurting families, schools, and businesses.
Based on that new understanding, Florida has recently mandated that labs separate and report the Viral Cycle Threshold values of a positive test to provide clarity on who is actually infectious and needs to be quarantined.
I would advise the State of New Jersey to review this information and implement a similar system to minimize any additional unnecessary disruption to the lives of New Jerseyans.
Senator Michael J. Doherty
23rd Legislative District