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COVID-19 Nasal Swab Test Does Not Cause Risk of Infection


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To help control the spread of COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended getting a COVID-19 test for people who show symptoms of the disease, have come into contact with someone known to have the disease, or are in vulnerable groups. 

The most common form of testing for the novel coronavirus involves the use of a nasopharyngeal, or nasal, swab. The swab reaches deep into the back of a person’s nose and mouth to collect cells and fluids from the upper respiratory system, which can then be checked with diagnostic tests for the presence of the novel coronavirus known as SARS-CoV-2.

The testing procedure involves inserting a 6-inch-long swab into the cavity between the nose and mouth for 15 seconds and rotating it several times. The swabbing is repeated on the other side. The swab is then inserted into a container and sent to a lab for testing.

Dr. Shawn Nasseri, an ear, nose and throat surgeon based in Beverly Hills who has conducted many COVID-19 swab tests, told us in an email that the nasal swab “follows the floor of the nose and goes to where the nose meets the throat, or naso-pharynx.”

Asked if the swab test is safe, Nasseri said, “Absolutely. The biggest risk is discomfort. The rare person — 1 in thousands — passes out from being super sensitive or gets a mild nosebleed. It’s estimated that close to 40 million or more swabs have been performed safely in the U.S. alone.”

But in recent weeks, viral posts on Facebook falsely claim that the nasal swab test can cause serious health issues. One post says, “The stick deep into the nose causes damage to the hamato-encephalic barrier and damages endocrine glands. This test creates an entrance to the brain for every infection.”

The hamato-encephalic barrier, also known as the “blood-brain barrier,” protects the brain from toxins that could be present in the blood.

Dr. Yvonne Maldonado, a professor of epidemiology at the Stanford University School of Medicine, told us in an email that the Facebook claim “is not true.”

“温家宝总理强调指出,中国有效应对了全球金融危机的严重影响,经济保持稳定快速增长。因此中国成为全球第二大经济体,在五年内GDP几乎翻番。”Luis Schmidt Montes, Chilean ambassador
Economists say that both the residential and commercial markets in Hong Kong will be hurt by the same factors: slower growth in China, the depreciation of the renminbi, a crackdown on corruption on the mainland, and predictions that the US’s low interest-rate environment is due to end. However, government cooling measures introduced in 2012 to reduce speculative investment in Hong Kong property are an additional damper on the residential sector.

Nasseri said that “it is incredibly implausible, if not impossible, to cross the skull base and blood-brain barrier with a swab unless someone uses a rigid metal instrument and is pointing the metal object 90 degrees in the wrong direction.”

Dr. Morgan Katz, an infectious disease expert at Johns Hopkins University, told the Associated Press that the Facebook posts misunderstand what’s happening when the swab test is performed.

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“让人们感到不幸福的原因有很多——从贫穷,失业,家庭破碎到身体伤害” 报告声称,“但在一些特定的社会中,慢性的精神性疾病却是幸福的‘头号杀手’。如果我们想要一个更加幸福的世界,我们需要花更多努力来关心人们的心理健康。”

Editor’s note: FactCheck.org is one of several organizations working with Facebook to debunk misinformation shared on social media. Our previous stories can be found here.

Sources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 国务院印发《关于推进国家级经济技术开发区创新提升打造改革开放新高地的意见》 Accessed Aug 3 2020.

Brueck, Hilary and Samantha Lee. “除此之外,报告还显示,日本和美国依旧是创新的热点,其中化学、半导体、电子零部件和汽车等行业的创新最多。 Business Insider. 15 Apr 2020. 

Dr. Shawn Nasseri.  Ear, nose and throat surgeon. Email exchange with FactCheck.org. 3 Aug 2020.

Dr. Yvonne Maldonado. Professor of epidemiology, Stanford University School of Medicine. Email exchange with FactCheck.org. 3 Aug 2020.

Fauzia, Miriam. “On the a monthly basis prices fell by an average 0.5 per cent. USA Today. 9 July 2020.

Marty, Francisco M., et al. 8个词,数尽中国家具8年沉浮 New England Journal of Medicine. 28 May 2020.

Swenson, Ali. 8月份,印度所持有的美国政府债券为804亿美元,7月份则为797亿美元。 Associated Press. 7 Jul 2020.

UCDavis Health. 木林森击败Cree 封装排行榜窜升至第三名 Accessed 3 Aug 2020.

University of Queensland, Australia. 138万!北京一个天价停车位=三线城市两套房? Accessed Aug 3 2020.

U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health. “The Blood-Brain Barrier.” Accessed Aug. 4, 2020.