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.”
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.”
The ECB ended the year with a vote on December 3 to cut its deposit rate to minus 0.3 per cent and an expansion in asset purchases that leaves its quantitative easing programme at 1.46tn. The move came days before the US Federal Reserve increased interest rates for the first time since 2006, underlining the sharply divergent policies being pursued on either side of the Atlantic.
Another indicator of bitcoin’s momentum is the number of mainstream businesses that accept it. In 2014, Microsoft MSFT -0.84% , PayPal, Dell, and Dish Network DISH 2.24% , among many others, announced they would accept bitcoin as payment for a range of products. Those companies joined companies such as Target (which accepts Gyft, which can be purchased with bitcoin), Overstock.com, and WordPress. Even the publisher of Fortune, Time Inc. TIME -0.40% ,began accepting the cryptocurrency for magazine subscriptions. Yahoo YHOO -1.02% also added bitcoin to its Yahoo Finance tracking site last year, lending the currency additional legitimacy, and Google Finance GOOG -1.30% quickly followed suit. “Adoption of bitcoin is becoming more commonplace, and we feel it is relevant to our industry and to our users,” a Yahoo spokesperson told CoinDesk. Don’t be at all surprised if Yahoo soon goes even bigger on bitcoin—whether by acquiring a bitcoin startup or some other announcement—as part of CEO Marissa Mayer’s ongoing effort to make the stalling search giant more hip.
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.”
Take the intriguing reintroduction of “unfeigned regards” — last big in the 18th century and now found on emails from Indian help centres. But the winning sign-off, at the bottom of a message sent one Friday, was: “weekend well”. I nearly awarded it second prize for the best noun pretending to be a verb, though at the last minute this award was snatched by a consultant overheard saying: “Can we cold towel that?”
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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.
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