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Why is Cuomo’s RIOC misleading Roosevelt Island about rapid COVID-19 testing?

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Governor Andrew Cuomo’s RIOC misleads Roosevelt Island on COVID-19 rapid testing. That’s certain, but we don’t know why.

By David Stone

Roosevelt Island News

In mid-January, on very short notice, Cuomo’s RIOC opened its Swift Rapid COVID-19 Testing site at 524 Main Street. But the state agency confounded the community, refusing requests for details about ownership and financial arrangements.

It’s partner, Swift Emergency Medical P.C., had no known history in the field, and RIOC would not say how they were chosen. Mysteriously, Hudson was also a partner but, again, sans details.

Maybe because RIOC overestimated the need or maybe due to the high level of inexplicable secrecy, its first week saw it running far under capacity.

But who could predict their jeopardizing public health, circulating false claims in an attempt at drawing more traffic?

Cuomo’s RIOC COVID-19 testing, the choice between what they’re saying and what’s true…

The latest marketing pitch from RIOC, the third in 10 days, hit their alerts system on Thursday. By contrast, they struggle to get out single, legally mandated public notices about board meetings.

Either, this is sales or someone trying to save their ass after a big mistake. And now, it’s compounded with falsehoods…

Why Test?

  • It’s free, no insurance required
  • It’s quick
  • You can more safely visit with friends and family
  • You’ll know if it’s safe to engage with the community

Get tested today!

Of the four claims among the bullet list, two are patently false and may increase risks for anyone relying on the tests.

person holding test tubes
Photo by Polina Tankilevitch on Pexels.com

It’s assumed that governments provide safe and accurate health advice, and most of us trust their guidance. While, with RIOC, it’s always risky, this level of deception is mind-boggling and inexplicable.

About the false claims…

The claims for Cuomo’s RIOC COVID-19 testing aim at encouraging more people to sign up because “You can more safely visit with friends and family.” And “You’ll know if it’s safe to engage with the community.”

Both are false.

But don’t take our word for it. Here’s Richard H. Schmerling from Harvard Medical School: “False negative results tend to occur more often with antigen tests than with molecular tests. This is why antigen tests are not favored by the FDA as a single test for active infection.” (Which test is best for COVID-19?)

“Antigen tests” are what RIOC uses, and they differ in accuracy with molecular tests which are far more trustworthy.

“Don’t be victim of a false sense of security with a false negative result from a rapid COVID-19 test,” warns Devon Carter from the MD Anderson Cancer Center. (Are rapid COVID-19 tests accurate?)

“Antigen tests are more likely to miss an active COVID-19 infection compared to molecular tests.”

Federal Food and Drug Administration

“Among asymptomatic participants, antigen test sensitivity was 41.2%,” said the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention after a study in January.

Finally, from Horizon, in December: “Governments are keen to use rapid tests as they are cheaper and faster to deploy for mass vaccination campaigns, but because they have limitations in terms of accuracy then it is key to not use negative results to enable more risky activities such as meeting your elderly or vulnerable loved ones.”

Compounding the falsehoods from Cuomo’s RIOC COVID-19 testing…

When we first saw what RIOC pushed in its effort at boosting its site, we emailed acting president/CEO Shelton Haynes, his board of enablers directors, and elected officials, requesting an immediate correction.

As is the habit of these daring public servants, not one responded, but in fact, things got worse.

State assembly member Rebecca Seawright, on Friday, circulated the falsehoods on her social media platform.

But worse yet, the Roosevelt Island Senior Center, which relies on RIOC for financial support, dutifully relayed the falsehoods to their membership. In other words, even after being alerted, RIOC facilitated pitching high risk falsehoods to the community’s most vulnerable residents.

Accountability seems to have taken a vacation at all levels of government on Roosevelt Island.

We just don’t know why, but considering the parties involved, it’s not hard to guess.

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