Beckoning into its third year as a global health crisis, the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has continued to terrorize and challenge both public health and the response of governmental healthcare. The pandemic has made everyone more aware of how significant wellness is, alongside the role, played by the government in addressing worldwide health crises such as this.
While the unabated willingness of healthcare frontliners to help and provide care to ease the masses is undeniably noble and awe-inspiring, overwork leads to a number of issues. But given the glaring lack of manpower in healthcare facilities, they’re left with no option but to double the amount of work they do.
In most cases, this lack of rest results to decline in performance indicated by a mishandled test, or in worst scenarios, them being sick. Misreading COVID-19 test results or coming down with something, will further decrease manpower and increase workload, thereby creating a catch-22 situation that largely impedes healthcare.
Misreading COVID-19 test results, however, doesn’t only affect healthcare, per se, but the individual in question as well. While the most commonly talked test error, false negative, receives more discussion because of the large-scale harm it causes, false positive errors are just as important. So, to help you understand, here’s how a false positive COVID test result can affect your wellbeing.
- Unnecessary Hospitalization
The premise of being hospitalized is pretty unnerving to some. The fees that come with being admitted to a hospital is no joke, after all. Which is why, unnecessary hospitalization is one of the most mortifying effects of false positive results.
Aside from this, hospitals are where sick people actually go. This means, that the more time you spend outside, especially in healthcare facilities, the higher the likelihood is of becoming infected by the virus. Indeed, health protocols are well-placed and implemented, but nothing beats the safety of your home.
In addition, false-positive COVID-19 results are more threatening in areas of high prevalence. This is because areas with a high incidence of Coronavirus disease mostly lack the means to properly accommodate all infected.
Furthermore, health facilities in areas like these sometimes resort to ‘patient cohorting’—or the practice of isolating patients of the same infection in one area. Patient cohorting is, by no means, inherently harmful. But with individuals who received false positive results, it is since the possibility of actually becoming infected is gravely increased.
- Breeds Mistrust
Test errors do happen sometimes. There’s no perfect and foolproof way to conduct things, especially in the context of epidemiology, where virus often mutates, therefore possibly leaving the health protocols obsolete.
If you tell everyone that, some may believe and be contented with it, while some won’t just simply accept it, which is perfectly understandable. The COVID-19 pandemic has been dragged on for too long, and for three years, humanity has been the one on defense. It puts everyone on the edge and fluctuations in testing results don’t help.
Moreover, the lack of trust among the citizens renders health protocols weak. Or more aptly, it compromises the credibility of health institutions and the government, which may potentially lead to civil unrest. And with the long list of conspiracy theories about COVID-19 littering the internet, mistrust is the last thing that everyone needs.
- Mental Strain
Waiting for test results will always be an anxiety-inducing situation no matter what they’re about. Whether it’s a math exam, SATs, drug tests, and in this case, a COVID-19 test. It’s nerve-racking to wait for the result, only to find out that you’re COVID-19 positive.
You’ll ask yourself ‘Am I going to die?’ or ‘Will my family get the virus from me?’. These internal dialogues may seem as simple statements, but there’s a heavy emotional weight behind them, which could have real effects both on your physical and mental health.
Since your mental health is just as important as your physical health, making sure that there’s a healthy balance between them is crucial. But given the news of being COVID-19 positive, your mental health is most likely in tatters.
Consequently, stress doesn’t only affect your physical health, but also your day-to-day activities. Stress from the news may result in feelings of grief, paranoia, loss of motivation, and the list goes on. These strains to your mental health can potentially grow into something real and dangerous, especially if not given immediate medical attention.
Indeed, medical science is not perfect but it doesn’t mean it will deliberately harm the public. If anything, the continuous effort of the medical field to level with global health threats, is due to its willingness to promote good health. While the COVID-19 pandemic has given light to a number of things and taken away so much, it’s not enough reason for humanity to stop fighting.