Amen to Fourouzad's woeful comment! Natalie, let us talk about how frustrating it is to not know fer sure. I believe these PCR tests for COVID-19 are mainly for tracking the virus for policy-makers and bean-counters, not for the benefit of those who are tested or grow the beans. I don’t have to be a genius to know when I have the flu. Whether it is COVID-19 or the common cold, I treat it the same and self-isolate to protect my son by at least 2 weeks. Whether + or -, there will always be false positives and false negatives in all tests regardless. Imho as a biologist & healthcare professional, what a waste of resources & emotional upheaval 4-those infected hoping for "closure" to their condition. Good News, good folks, there is no closure for the coronavirus latched on2 the pulmonary epithelial cells in our 2-human lungs. We are an open country without borders to these pathogens turning our ACE-2 receptors against us.

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As the article suggests, all PCR tests are unreliable, especially if the test-kit primers bind to viral fragments lodged in your genome or escape detection out in some dark crevice of your cell, so pleased 2-have scattered bits of itself in the human genome like dummy-oligomers thumbings its nose 2-human intelligence. More unreliable than PCR tests are policy-makers unable 2- give clear guidelines to spare people like Natalie from unnecessary & wasteful tests when all she needed to do was wait 2 weeks or better yet 3 weeks or better yet 4 weeks until she could climb up those stairs to hug her parents for the 1st time in weeks.

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I don't think the CDC guideline to wait at least 10 days after 1-is asymptomatic is stringent enuf 2-nip this pandemic in the bud. At least 2 weeks is what I would do as a healthcare professional & father. I would use my common sense instead of the CDC's recommendation that has been overrun by the Trump administration fer sure. That also applies to the WHO and OSHA who have failed 2-protect the disadvantaged colored brothers & sisters with their confusing and changeable recommendations allowing employers to send their “valued” workers to the slaughterhouse with holey masks and “know common-cents”.

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The best way of testing to see if a person is truly infectious is by culturing their sputum, but that is ridiculously hard and time&$-consuming as Roxanne pointed out. If you want to avoid the roller coaster of emotions Natalie went through, just play it safe and forget the numbers & perhaps even the post-infection test 10 or 14 days later. Did it give you closure? Come on really, do you get a test after you catch the flu before returning to work before the new normal? Before you could hold your baby or see your aging parents or beloved multi-colored students? COVID-19 is just another flu, something we forget as our Mother Earth finally caught Man’s cold & virus, the apocalypse of the family Viridae emerald with envy.

Amen.

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Even if Natalie tested negative, truly negative for COVID-19(?), the virus is a master gambler of exceptions. Do you want 2-take a chance by believing our gov't's casino rules to save your life? Or will you use your God-given reason to hunker down despite the strafe of virus-laden bombs? The virus is a master gambler of life and death, oddly better than us working with 0 & 1s while they dance over quantum & string theory. Would you rather be @a BLM rally with hundred of false-negative protestors like in the old days of the Black Plague leaving no genetic material to future generations or stay far away & be the alive-great-great-great-(you get the gist)-grandchildren of those play it safe and protest on Change.org instead?

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After working in a biology lab, I saw what a gamble science is. After getting a pharmacy degree, I realized that we are a bunch of educated jokers injecting our guidelines into patients with our superior knowledge ever in the dark not realizing life is a gamble not science & not always in our favor. The sooner the public wakes up to our education system’s human flaws, the better we can protect our family & quit praying to false gods or golden calfs worshipping the almighty dollar or won or pound or whatever. We know politicians are prone to corruption by her temptations. Now we should wake up to those who hold PhDs, MDs, DO, RPh, PA, NPs, etc .. Just look at the CDC in bed with our President and his Cabinet. Wake them up not with mindless protests and tearing down stupid statues like their racist grandpappies did to erase the God-fearing people. Wake yourself up to the societal disease. Wake yourself up the first stages of the apocalypse that we so fervently desire in our box offices.

It’s life or death and it’s not surreal as tired victims of unending tragedies say on the news reporting nothing but nothing.

Amen. Amen.