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.”
US News also offers subject-focused rankings, which include popular fields such as computer science, economics and business and engineering.
Like a lot of critics, I chafe against the arbitrariness of lists even as I recognize their utility. Since I can never stop at 10 — how could I, when something like 900 movies were released in North American theaters? — I picked 15 to match the year, ranked them and ended up fudging that count. So maybe technically it’s a top 20. The slots with more than one title aren’t ties, but double features, paired movies that complement, contend with or amplify each other’s best qualities.
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.”
Sina's Weibo service, for example, has long offered features that Twitter lacks, notably a commenting function that allows multiple users to add their own thoughts to a user's posts. Tencent's QQ instant messaging service, which has more than 700 million users, offers additional features such as skins to change the look of the client and serves as a portal for the company to advertise other products and services. Sina declined to comment.
Australian and Spanish schools are doing well, however. Each country’s three representatives have risen up the ranking. Sydney’s Macquarie Graduate School of Management is Australia’s top placed institution at 49 and Spain’s IE Business School moved up four places to eighth, the first time since 2012 that the Madrid school is back in the top 10.
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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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