In Staff Writer Joe Lawlor’s front-page May 10 Maine Sunday Telegram article, “Upgrading its capacity to test will leave Maine well-poised,” the Idexx test’s accuracy rate, if it is known, is missing. Has the test been properly vetted, vetted quickly or vetted at all? Should we care?

My grandson, in western Maryland, ill with high fever, sore throat and headache, was tested. The test came back negative. Then family learned that particular test has a false negative accuracy rate of close to 15 percent.

Did my grandson have COVID-19? Maybe, maybe not! Much as we in Maine need to open our economy, we Mainers need testing that is accurate, or close to accurate. Or do we? Should we test first, vet the test later?

Your article rightly looks to South Korea as a model. But a quick search reveals Reuters reported mid-March that South Korea took a chance. To move quickly they tested accuracy only “briskly” first, then later spot checked the effectiveness. So far, the risk seems to have paid off.

In this fraught area of the virus pandemic I’m grateful to the Portland Press Herald for over these past months seeking out needed facts so we Mainers can make informed decisions about our personal and state response to this threat. I look forward to future reporting, especially on coronavirus testing in South Korea, the U.S., in Maine and on the Idexx test in particular. Journalists are essential workers. Thank you for your service!

Judith C. Tydings
South Thomaston

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