The US tested the wrong people for coronavirus

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And you can tell because of a number called the test positivity rate.
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As the rate of new coronavirus cases in the US slows down, many states and cities there are encouraging businesses to open again, easing the lockdowns that have been in place since March. But public health experts warn that in many of those places, opening up is premature.
The reason is that throughout the US, as well as in many other countries, we still don’t really know how many people have the virus, or where they are. That’s dangerous because it means infected people who don’t feel sick are probably mingling with the rest of the population, which could enable further outbreaks. And the only way to really prevent that is by proactively testing people for covid-19 until the people who have it have been tracked down and isolated.
The US started testing its population for covid-19 very slowly, but it’s since ramped testing up, and by early May was performing over 200,000 tests a day. Unfortunately, there’s no magic number of tests that is “enough” to contain an outbreak. The important thing is to test the right people - and to evaluate whether that’s happening, public health officials recommend looking at a different number: The percentage of tests coming back positive. It’s called the test positivity rate.
Note: The headline on this piece has been updated.
Previous headline: What the US needs to do to open up safely
In a previous version of this video, the circles in the infographic at 5:50 and 6:20 were incorrectly sized. The error has been corrected.
Our World in Data is a reliable source for country-by-country covid-19 data:
Our World in Data also has weekly-rolling test-positivity rate data which gives a better snapshot of where countries are currently at:
We based our state test-positivity rates on this May 6 Harvard Global Health Institute and NPR analysis:
The Atlantic’s coverage of the importance of test-positivity rates:
An important disclaimer on potential inflation in testing numbers at the national and state level in the US: is a news website that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Check out
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23 mai 2020




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Commentaires 80
Karien Slaven
Karien Slaven Il y a 6 heures
No one is that stupied brain washing the public is what their doing
Apollo Il y a 22 heures
They might as well offer an incentive to become tested by offering an option to conduct for genetic genealogy while they are doing the virus testing. It might help to solve some crimes and also give an added incentive to become tested for people who want to discover their family histories.
Funk Mobb
Funk Mobb Il y a jour
America the circus act of evil ....
Vincent Tseng
Vincent Tseng Il y a 3 jours
10 negative to 1 positive is not 10% it’s 1/11 is about 0.0909, which is 9.09%
Graham Smith
Graham Smith Il y a 3 jours
Is it population reduction? Has it been decided that the USA is overpopulated. Using Covid-19 to reduce the population.
gam mal
gam mal Il y a 4 jours
Sherrie Abbott (RMES)
Sherrie Abbott (RMES) Il y a 4 jours
If people didn’t move to other places then places wouldn’t have the virus
Sherrie Abbott (RMES)
Sherrie Abbott (RMES) Il y a 4 jours
Bruh moment
Bal Nguyen
Bal Nguyen Il y a 4 jours
Now, i understand how America struggle to contain the virus. Lack of supplies, lack of prepared. A good lesson for future then.
Beatriz B. Guasch
Beatriz B. Guasch Il y a 4 jours
Wear mask.
akash jha
akash jha Il y a 4 jours
How does this 10% or less theory works if a majority of people are infected? Then no matter how much you test the TPR will always be above 10%!
Xay Il y a 4 jours
New Zealand :
PhilippineGamer Plays
PhilippineGamer Plays Il y a 4 jours
Bill Gates: there will be a pandemic we didnt prepare for it we prepared for a war 2020:Covid 19 Me:who are you who are so wise in the ways of science
Lurky Boio
Lurky Boio Il y a 5 jours
I mean, the US says they are first... first with most cases in the world by country -_-
Téanna Ang
Téanna Ang Il y a 6 jours
What’s the worse thing you can say to someone in 2020? *stay positive*
Jared Moreno
Jared Moreno Il y a 6 jours
My mother-in-law, who I live with, is sick but there are no tests in the area to confirm she has Covid-19. Her friend who she was in contact with, just died of Covid-19. My doctor told me that I can go back to work despite likely having the virus myself.
Tam Nguyen
Tam Nguyen Il y a 6 jours
If you can't fit the problem in a Twitter tweet, Trump probably can't read it.
John Slyfield
John Slyfield Il y a 6 jours
New York it’s amazing that in May it was over ten percent, now they are under one percent.
Alfie Solomon
Alfie Solomon Il y a 7 jours
South Korea is also the size of like New Jersey
richard klegin
richard klegin Il y a 7 jours
richard klegin
richard klegin Il y a 7 jours
were heading to wave two , and the second is going to be worse
richard klegin
richard klegin Il y a 7 jours
its the end of the world .
daniel jones
daniel jones Il y a 7 jours
What is the use of a nuclear weapons and aircraft carriers, if the population of a country cannot follow simple rules of stopping a virus?
daniel jones
daniel jones Il y a 7 jours
Is a country still a super power if it cannot follow simple rules to stop a virus?
daniel jones
daniel jones Il y a 7 jours
Why is America behaving and being governed like a Developing Country?
rogue wade
rogue wade Il y a 7 jours
South Korean population - 51 million American population - 300 million 😒
rogue wade
rogue wade Il y a 4 jours
assassin icezaza even in a pandemic humans are using deaths in an attempt to restructure their hierarchy. Using large incomprehensible differences between billions of people to prove their people should be in power. 🤣
assassin icezaza
assassin icezaza Il y a 4 jours
rogue wade What is the point you are trying make here? are you saying US are worse because of their unique situation?
rogue wade
rogue wade Il y a 4 jours
assassin icezaza yes India, is very similar to America 😒
assassin icezaza
assassin icezaza Il y a 4 jours
rogue wade Population doesn’t matter it is about how you control it, look at india, they have worse health care and billion of citizen yet they still do better.
Sumida Ryogoku
Sumida Ryogoku Il y a 7 jours
But why US didnt conduct a mass testing in the first place? Here in Seoul ( South Korea ) by late January 2020 there were many, many testing facilities literally on every streets. All free.
Tathagat Chatterjee
Tathagat Chatterjee Il y a 7 jours
India was shown in list of countries that tested correctly.. funny where it lies in list of those infected with virus..
Thomas Peiker
Thomas Peiker Il y a 7 jours
Why America has the Problems, America has a lot of People, who are sick cause of the System, its Not in Canada, its not in Germany 😉
Ani G
Ani G Il y a 8 jours
2:26 That's 9.09%
Calder Wishne
Calder Wishne Il y a 8 jours
Republicans are the problem. Full stop.
orventro Il y a 8 jours
2:25 Actually, that's 9% (1/11)
Larry Steve
Larry Steve Il y a 8 jours
Is this a joke I am to Canadian to understand?
Oly B
Oly B Il y a 8 jours
I usually think having things privatised by the government is bad but healthcare should be privatised and be free to everyone in the country, how many people in the US are suffering from medical bills. Most homeless in other countries is from drugs or mental health but in the Us it’s medical bills. Having it privatised will also help stopping corona cuz trump will try and stop the virus if it is affecting him and his economy nothing else will make him care!
assassin icezaza
assassin icezaza Il y a 4 jours
Oly B Classic american will call it communism and not fair because it will raise the taxes. i think that kinda what happen with obamacare.
E R Gallentine
E R Gallentine Il y a 8 jours
Great content, as always!
Petitio Principii
Petitio Principii Il y a 9 jours
Why would one downvote a purely informative video is beyond me.
Ray Mak
Ray Mak Il y a 9 jours
Less tests means less cases. According to the President.
Yuvraj Shah
Yuvraj Shah Il y a 2 jours
That is the same as saying “If we cant see the problem then there is no problem”
assassin icezaza
assassin icezaza Il y a 4 jours
Immaculate Organic Soaps Still meaning the same thing, more testing - more accurate results. less confirmed cases didn’t mean less actual cases.
Immaculate Organic Soaps
Didn't he say the more you test the more you are going to find positive results.
ReefNRod Il y a 9 jours
This didn't age well for Arizona at the end
myown lilbubble
myown lilbubble Il y a 9 jours
Man...the comment threads did not aged well for the USA.
Ironic Cookies
Ironic Cookies Il y a 9 jours
movies: america saves the world irl: america dies
AlexLS 192
AlexLS 192 Il y a jour
America saves the world by dying and taking the virus and stupidity with us
HighGround Il y a 6 jours
That's Hollywood, brainwashing Americans to think they and their country are some heroes that they aren't irl
DarkEyez Il y a 9 jours
Colorado is covering up their actual deaths as 6 ppl i know here died from the virus in one day and Colorado's death count did not rise at all that day, their covering up that they slowed testing down and even turned my mother away , and she turned out to test positive later she got the virus from me, we both almost died, haven't been tested since, forced back to work within 3 weeks of catching yhe virus, just because i have no way to get the test again
DarkEyez Il y a 9 jours
There is not any place to get the test for over an hour on wheels and tons of workers here dont have a car lole myself, theres over 600 workers here and i know most of them after a survey we found the casino workers here were stripped of unemployment even high risk people and people over 70 years old, we were told being high risk is not enough and if we turn down our jobs who reopened a month ago we will loose all income
DarkEyez Il y a 9 jours
In blackhawk and central city Colorado none of the casino workers forced to come back have been tested
Jason Yip
Jason Yip Il y a 10 jours
Is there even contact tracing in the us? Here in Asia, all i hear is contact tracing but i have not heard this term used in the US.
Adam Il y a 9 jours
My state of Oregon had a goal of least 600 contact tracers by mid-May; currently, our Positive test rate is 6.3% up from 1.7% at the end of May about when we started to reopen the state
jonny pepperston
jonny pepperston Il y a 10 jours
I don't understand any of these videos
CodeKujo Il y a 11 jours
"10 negative tests to 1 positive test" is 9%, not 10%. (10 negative + 1 positive = 11 tests. 1 positive / 11 tests = 9.09...%) So did that guy take "10%" and say it wrong, or has the video taken "10 to 1" and done a super common math-o. I think the thing to say which is both correct and wouldn't confuse people is to say "... that means less than 10%"
rtswift Il y a 11 jours
its not that we didn't test the right people but didn't test enough
Gia Pacella
Gia Pacella Il y a 11 jours
AlanNguyen2810 Il y a 11 jours
As a Vietnamese citizen, seeing all these videos on the internet trying to explain to the US how to contain the outbreak, when our country's been doing all that way ahead of them. Just sad.
nana nani
nana nani Il y a 2 jours
Ikr, congrats to Vietnam and everyone who lives there btw for successfully controlling the pandemic, I live in Canada and we border them, it's so scary yet very preventable on what happened to them and they want to open the border with us lol
Timothy Tate
Timothy Tate Il y a 11 jours
My brother has had breathing issues for 3 months but since he has not history of respiratory issues they won’t test him...
MICHAEL JUNG Il y a 11 jours
If someone has symptoms already, is the test necessary? Stopping the spread of the virus was the goal of the lock down. Shouldn't the test have the same goal?
Autumn Il y a 10 jours
No, testing should be used to catch the asymptomatic, not those who have symptoms. That way we can catch those who have the virus, and slow the spread.
Hanbyul Kang
Hanbyul Kang Il y a 11 jours
It is the reason why to wear a mask in order to protect myself and others.
rishav Il y a 11 jours
A little more time and India will be on top. This will a proud moment for all patriots of the great nation. Feeling patriotic, might vote the guy who's literally ruining everything back to power again.
Carlos Lehder
Carlos Lehder Il y a 12 jours
It so amazing to see that rapid drop in pneumonia deaths and flu deaths.... now they are putting COVID in its place to place fear in us.
George Saad
George Saad Il y a 9 jours
First of all Covid causes Pneumonia .The flu season is gone since February. Wait till the fall when we will have both Covid and the flu together. The party will be a lot worse.
R L Il y a 12 jours
If Trump gets voted for a 2nd term, y’all Americans are just straight up masochists 🤣
Stefanos Tai
Stefanos Tai Il y a 12 jours
@vox "10 negative tests to 1 positive" is not a 10% positive rate. it is 1/11 = a 9.1% rate.
Mieny Hobi
Mieny Hobi Il y a 12 jours
And there is me as a VietNamese going to school everyday without wearing a mask cuz we are so done with covid 19
assassin icezaza
assassin icezaza Il y a 4 jours
Mieny Hobi Same here in thailand we don’t have a new case in country for a months now
케빈스Woozy Witanuzi
케빈스Woozy Witanuzi Il y a 12 jours
Australia didn't test alot of people. The government told us not to get tested unless we have sevre cases 😢
M. Sami
M. Sami Il y a 13 jours
Why is there people wearing a bikini in the park?
assassin icezaza
assassin icezaza Il y a 4 jours
M. Sami Welcome to USA, they are probably sunbathing.
randy tabron
randy tabron Il y a 13 jours
If governors closed up and do what they need to do this wood not have happen so bad in America but they tryed to take rights away and treat the Americans bad but let other just do as they want
Thành Vinh Nguyên Tô
Thành Vinh Nguyên Tô Il y a 13 jours
They should've done contact tracing. To backtrack and isolate
EGAN Il y a 14 jours
Here in the us there is a plethora of anti vax and anti mask people. Along with entitled Karen’s who can’t handle an inconvenience
PhilippineGamer Plays
PhilippineGamer Plays Il y a 4 jours
They just gonna kick the can down and drag dead weight
Chave na ignição - Victor Nezzi
if the US is poorly testing, imagine what they would say about brazil!!!!
Tomanna Il y a 15 jours
MINOR CORRECTION: 2:26 that's not 10% it's actually closer to 9 as '10 to 1' implies 1 person out of every 11
Carina Raymond
Carina Raymond Il y a 15 jours
Who disliked this? Knowledge is power. Stay ignorant, keep infecting people....
Lucho Grados
Lucho Grados Il y a 7 heures
U know there r differents points of view right?... This is just one.
samanthajoy1 Il y a 8 jours
You know that exactly what I was think 🤦🏻‍♀️ how are you disliking a video to keep you informed 😒
Mohamed Abdullahi
Mohamed Abdullahi Il y a 13 jours
Yeah right, infect people with misinformation
alfonso dacullo
alfonso dacullo Il y a 15 jours
US is the poorest 1st world country
ThreeThings Il y a 16 jours
Why does Vox sound so horribly pretentious and hubristic?
Irene Stolz
Irene Stolz Il y a 16 jours
My concern is the testing process. Testers use the same gloves to test everyone. Infected and non infected putting their hands directly into the location of the virus!!!!!Wouldn’t that alone spread the virus??????
N Pak
N Pak Il y a 16 jours
Here we are again.
loucious22 Il y a 18 jours
Testing costs money. Capitalism and a private healthcare insurance system cannot make a profit by doing mass testing. Thus, welcome to America.
Vaibhav Thalanki
Vaibhav Thalanki Il y a 18 jours
Meanwhile Brazil : there won't be any cases if we don't test
Chun-Yu Chen
Chun-Yu Chen Il y a 18 jours
Good for the country of Taiwan, great healthcare.
TV Streaming News
TV Streaming News Il y a 18 jours
You should see Florida, Texas and Arizona now. Also, why can't the administration just follow the lead of Vox? Sorry to say but America is lost
Luneta Il y a 18 jours
A month later... The expected happened and cases rose again
Autumn Il y a 19 jours
DahDaniel Dude
DahDaniel Dude Il y a 20 jours
Bro the testing in South Korea on how they test people reminds me the South Korean movie (The flu)
Suzanne Conway
Suzanne Conway Il y a 20 jours
So right! The people in high places making all the decisions for everyone else's lives just don't even get's just simple math and logic....shame on NJ Governor Murphy promising that anyone could be tested that wanted to be tested....not true if you're someone not showing symptoms!
S H Il y a 21 jour
We have a virus we can not get rid of and it seems as though people can be reinfected.
Dhanraj Tolar
Dhanraj Tolar Il y a 21 jour
Flattened the wrong curve..
Lavender Sky
Lavender Sky Il y a 21 jour
I remember the Ebola outbreak.. Americans were flipping out and it wasn’t even in our country. They brought it to our country to save them.. Trump supporters think this is a scam by the Democrats
How deadly is Covid-19?
Where is Kim Jong-Un?