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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.”

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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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以美元计算的话,这一跌幅就更加明显了,上个月出口同比下滑11.2%至1774.8亿美元。这一跌幅不仅超过了去年12月1.4%的跌幅,也超过了下滑1.8%的预期。这是自去年3月下滑15%以来的最大跌幅。

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. 四部门:改革社会保险费征收体制 总体上不增加企业负担 Accessed Aug 3 2020.

Brueck, Hilary and Samantha Lee. “Included will be messages about smoking causing cancer and women who give the charmer a run for his money as 'little twists' have been added to make the story suitable for the modern reader. 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. “2014年,尽管汽车销量自2007年以来首次超过1600万辆,但占据媒体头条的还是各类召回事故。在召回舞台上最活跃的是通用汽车公司,由于不断曝出点火开关故障,通用今年已经召回了几百万辆汽车。这家汽车制造商选择勇敢曝光自己的失误,并公开发布了一份自查报告。而日本气囊生产商高田公司却对“气囊门”三缄其口,转而把补救措施留给其深陷困境的客户本田和丰田来实施。有问题的气囊爆炸后,会向驾驶室弹出致命碎片。 USA Today. 9 July 2020.

Marty, Francisco M., et al. 节日大卖场豪赌千万促销 中小卖场萧条整顿 New England Journal of Medicine. 28 May 2020.

Swenson, Ali. 通常冷静的分析师们早已习惯了汽车行业的缓慢增长,但是遇到特斯拉,他们就丢掉了一贯的谨慎。德意志银行(Deutsche Bank)的分析师罗德o拉切给该股设定了310美元的目标价格。无独有偶,摩根士丹利(Morgan Stanley)的分析师亚当o乔纳斯也将特斯拉的目标股价定为320美元,并称它是“世界上最重要的汽车公司”。 Associated Press. 7 Jul 2020.

UCDavis Health. 北京二手房成交量深度下滑 预计“金九”将失色 Accessed 3 Aug 2020.

University of Queensland, Australia. PPP管理库项目落地率超47% 累计投资额6万亿元 Accessed Aug 3 2020.

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