There are two ways to fudge the actual number of Covid cases. The first, more obvious way is to reduce the number of tests being conducted, as Donald Trump repeatedly suggested. The second, less obvious and more insidious way is to increase the number of Antigen tests and reduce the number of PCR tests.
As we all know, Antigen tests do not detect the Covid virus as well as PCR tests. In fact, the separate data, published by only a few states, on PCR vs Antigen test results, shows that PCR tests have a positivity rate that is 2.5 to 3.5 times higher than Antigen tests (for example, in Delhi the positivity rate for PCR tests is 14% while the positivity rate for Antigen tests is 4%).
From 100% PCR tests at the very start of the pandemic, India is now down to less than 60% PCR tests – while Antigen tests have risen sharply from a negligible number to now almost 5.5 crores, which accounts for over 40% of total tests. And, every week, there is a continuous rising trend of Antigen testing.
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