Why the swab test for COVID?

Let’s talk about this meme.

This meme does not demonstrate logical or critical thinking. It isn’t a “Gotcha”. If this question resonates with you, you aren’t the lion amongst the sheep. It just means you lack knowledge in medicine, pathology, virology or epidemiology. (Mind you you don’t need knowledge of all of these, A small amount of knowledge in ANY of these would be sufficient.)

When you have a virus that is spread through droplets, such as COVID, or Influenza or really any respiratory infection like RSV, or whooping cough, there is a percent chance of spreading that virus. That percentage has hundreds of variables ranging from how much of the virus has built up, to what protective measures you are using, and a myriad of other things. We want to mitigate that risk. Reduce it to as close as 0 as possible. Nothing is 100% effective. Multiple things have an additive effect in reduction.

When you are testing for something you don’t want a small chance of getting the virus. You want the biggest chance possible of sampling it if it is there. The nasopharynx has the largest chance of having the biggest collection of the virus if you have it. Swabbing that area not only increases your odds of finding it at any time throughout your infection, it’s also the best way for catching it early, as there will be a larger deposit of the virus there than say, in your saliva.

This testing methodology is not new, nor is it COVID specific.

Now you know.