04 June 2020

TYWKIWDBI is COVID-19 negative

My results came back last night.

Yesterday morning I drove to my scheduled appointment at a University of Wisconsin facility, where the greeter checked my name and date of birth and directed me to wait in a cell phone lot.

A few minutes later I received a call on the cell, was asked (again) to confirm my identity, and to drive into a tent.  The greeter there confirmed my identity for the third time and explained the procedure.  Then the person with the swab came to my car window, confirmed for the final time that my name and information on the tube was correct, inserted the swab - expertly - below the turbinates back to where it bumped against the nasopharynx, then rotated it five times, withdrew it, and placed it in the tube.  After an exchange of pleasantries I drove away.  Time in the tent five minutes.

TBH, it was a little bit unpleasant.  Unlike a swab inserted in preparation for a bronchoscopy or ENT exam, this tip of this one did not contain lidocaine or any lubricant, so the cotton was scraping off some epithelium on the way in and out (which is what it is supposed to do), generating a mild "burning" sensation.  And the passage of the swab elicits some tearing (as in lacrimal tears/drops, not as in mucosal tears/rips).

The negative result was posted to my university account for viewing about 12 hours later (had they been positive I would have received a phone call with instructions for what to do next).

So easy.  And one can't help but realize that if this were available to everyone (not just people scheduled to undergo a colonoscopy tomorrow), how much easier life would be.  If everyone could be tested, those testing positive could self-isolate pending appearance or resolution of symptoms and contacts could be traced.  Those testing negative could lead a somewhat more normal life with scheduled repeat testing.  That's not rocket science - just commonsense public health.

And that's what the United States should have been prepared to do.   More on this when I finish reading and blog excerpts from Ed Yong's prescient article "The Next Plague is Coming. Is American Ready?" - published in August of 2018, for fox ache.


  1. I use Avast. I think that my ISP also checks? If you had been positive, I would have seen some kind warning in my browser.

  2. Best wishes for your colonoscopy.

  3. Good to hear that you're fine. A dram of Malt Whisky might still be advisory, on health grounds.

  4. One test was the nasal kind--horrible. The next one (after having a low grade fever--was a tongue swab. Easy! And negative.

    1. https://www.the-scientist.com/news-opinion/first-saliva-test-for-covid-19-approved-for-emergency-use-by-fda-67416

  5. Yes, testing the populace is what the US *should* be doing. But, this is a US run by an administration that is allergic to facts. Trump made it quite clear by his policy decisions that he didn't want the population tested because then people could shout big numbers at him when he tried to force reopening at the behest of his billionaire friends (who will remain in isolation when you go back to work) and he doesn't like that. Of course, you can't make 100,000 dead people disappear without someone getting their panties in a twist.


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