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My Test Was Negative So I Didn't Wear a Mask

Last week there was a Super Spreader event at the White House and now guests have Covid-19.  The President's virus test was positive 5 days after the event. Everyone who attended the Rose Garden Party for Amy Coney Barrett had a rapid Covid-19 genetic virus test on arrival.   Guests were told that all of the tests were negative and therefore no one needed to wear masks.   At least 150 guests in the Rose Garden were photographed  - without social distancing or masks.  Everyone at the event should still have been socially distanced and wearing masks.  Read More about the test below.


The White House uses the Abbott ID Now point of care molecular virus test.  The test was given FDA Emergency Use Authority for symptomatic patients with symptoms for < 7 days.  Articles I reviewed demonstrated, in some studies, that the test sensitivity wasn't high enough to pick up early cases of Covid-19, i.e. those samples that had low virus loads (up to 20% false negative tests).

A test like this is only helpful for rapidly testing symptomatic individuals, the results of the genetic test takes 5 minutes if positive and 13 minutes if negative. However, using this test to screen a population of asymptomatic individuals could mean missing many patients with early, transmissible SARS-CoV-2 as appeared to happen at the White House.



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