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Once again, with feeling, attempts to game the testing system won’t work

Tuesday, Oct 20, 2020


The leader of one of the largest towns in southern Illinois says getting more people to get tested will help get local communities released from new virus mitigations. […]

[Marion Mayor Mike Absher] says if more people get tested and don’t have the virus it will help bring down the area’s positivity rate.

“Please go get a test even if you are healthy,” Absher said. “I’m asking you to do this even if you feel perfectly healthy, no symptoms, no temperature anything like that.” […]

“If there are people that are carrying the virus and don’t know it. Finding that out so they can isolate while they get healthy will help control the spread of the virus to others and that will clearly help us all including this specific time where we need to get out from under these mitigations, so the restaurants and bars can fully open again. Because what we need is to get more people not only to test but to test negative. It simply helps us get below that 8 percent threshold,” Absher said.

This part is true: “If there are people that are carrying the virus and don’t know it. Finding that out so they can isolate while they get healthy will help control the spread of the virus to others and that will clearly help us all”

But if that is true, then this will likely not pan out: “Because what we need is to get more people not only to test but to test negative”

* As DeWitt County discovered the hard way, increased testing did not “allow the County to come off the Governor’s COVID warning list.” More testing found more positive cases and DeWitt is still on the IDPH warning list.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - phenom_Anon - Tuesday, Oct 20, 20 @ 12:51 pm:

    The theory is sound. IF you can assume that the general population has a lower rate of COVID than the smaller chunk of the population that is currently getting tested.
    Look at Region 6 with the U of I, their massive number of tests is skewing the whole region’s positivity down, which is why the state is tracking it with and without U of I data.
    So the question is how many additional people do you have to get to take the tests before this effect shows up? I doubt Marion can get to that level, but it would be interesting to know how many it would take to make it work.

  2. - Cool Papa Bell - Tuesday, Oct 20, 20 @ 12:59 pm:

    If only we had a nationwide quick testing program so we could encourage everyone to get tested and those results would return quick enough so it mattered.

  3. - Sgt Rock USMC (Ret) - Tuesday, Oct 20, 20 @ 1:10 pm:

    In my professional career, I did a fair amount of statistical work. Several times, other researchers, who were unhappy with the amount of scatter in their data, would ask me if more testing would help reduce the estimate of variance. I would have to explain - over and over - that more data would produce a more reliable estimate of the true variance, but the underlying parameter would remain unchanged unless the system itself were altered in some way.

    Same thing here. The positivity rate is the parameter; sampling more people will improve our knowledge of it, but testing alone changes nothing about the underlying population.

  4. - Sgt Rock, etc. - Tuesday, Oct 20, 20 @ 1:20 pm:

    The above assumes an unbiased sampling plan. To the extent that ‘known’ sufferers outnumber healthy and asymptotic carriers in the testing cohort, the resulting statistics will be biased as well.

    Perhaps that was the Mayor’s idea.

  5. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Oct 20, 20 @ 1:25 pm:

    ===Look at Region 6 with the U of I, their massive number of tests is skewing===

    They’re testing the same people multiple times per week. And it’s not skewing the region.

  6. - Candy Dogood - Tuesday, Oct 20, 20 @ 1:30 pm:

    This guy is a literal used car salesman that was involved in ending the property tax assessment for the city in favor of raising sales tax which due to the amount of property he and his businesses owns significantly benefited him.

    He’s previously been so lackadaisical on the public health crisis that is killing members of his community he has publicly stated the city would have no involvement in the enforcement of previous public health executive orders, and the police force doesn’t wear masks when they’re interacting in public.

    The fact that this toad of a human being thinks that the deadly pandemic that is killing members of his community is understated due to sample bias in testing suggests that it might be a bad idea to elect a used car salesman to be your mayor.

    All while the city is still sponsoring large public events and done as little as possible to actually protect it’s community.

  7. - Cool Papa Bell - Tuesday, Oct 20, 20 @ 1:35 pm:

    And we are testing way more healthy people than sick people - 59,077 tests and 3,714 positives. So 55,363 people with out COVID-19 got a negative test result back yesterday. Gonna have to find tens of thousands of more “confirmed” healthy folks to skew a number.

  8. - Candy Dogood - Tuesday, Oct 20, 20 @ 1:49 pm:

    If anyone wants to watch this clown explain his plan to game the system, here’s his

    My favorite part is the claim that the Marion specific zipcode is at 5%, ergo, nothing to worry about, my second favorite part is that he has apparently asked the IDPH to open a mobile screening site to assist with his plan to game the system.

    And then there’s this:

    “Please consider wearing a mask while in public, especially while you’re around others in public. I know many of you still feel it infringes on your rights, or it’s illegal or whatever for someone to make you do so.”

    Weak words from a leader that has the authority to enforce the requirements to wear a mask and has repeatedly stated in public that he has no intention to.

  9. - Anon221 - Tuesday, Oct 20, 20 @ 2:16 pm:

    Both Clinton and Monticello are closing some of their schools for the rest of the week due to high positive tests among students.

    Dr. Zimmerman from Monticello tweeted out this:

    “We have a solid and safe in-school five days per week five hours per day plan for our students choosing to be in school for learning. It’s the other 19 hours in the day that we are most concerned about.”

  10. - Flying Elvis'-Utah Chapter - Tuesday, Oct 20, 20 @ 2:41 pm:

    Absher and Schimpf apparently had the same math teacher.

  11. - Not a Billionaire - Tuesday, Oct 20, 20 @ 3:45 pm:

    It’s is good to have more testing . It really helps identify the dangerous places ….if course that’s now everywhere.

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