RT-PCR positive tests not ‘Covid cases’: Doctors call for responsible media reporting

In a public appeal to the media a group of doctors across the country has called for a stop to fear mongering and ill-informed reports in the media

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Representative image
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NH Web Desk

The media must distinguish between RT-PCR ‘positives’ and clinical Covid-19 cases and not treat them as synonymous. In an open letter to media houses, a copy of which is with National Herald, a group of doctors have pointed out that people with ‘positive’ RT-PCR tests are not necessarily Covid-19 cases. But many media reports have been reporting a rise in RT-PCR positives as Covid-19 cases, thus spreading panic among the people, the letter points out.

‘A “case” is a person who has the disease and presents with clinical symptoms and on subsequent testing is diagnosed as a clinical case of Covid,’ the letter maintains before adding, “In fact, the term Covid-19 is defined as illness/disease, and it cannot be applied to someone who has no symptoms/illness, merely on the basis of some test.”

The doctors maintained that “how many people have tested positive for RT-PCR is not relevant”. Instead, they called upon the media to report instead ‘on hospitalization and include information on comorbidities and age.’

Media reporting should also give equal weightage to other major killer diseases such as tuberculosis, cancer, etc.

Pointing out that the coronavirus in India is now an endemic infection which shall keep causing flu-like illnesses in a few people whereas most people will neither show any symptom or severe symptoms, the doctors recalled that even the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) had in January, 2022 called for suspension of testing people showing no symptom of the disease (Covid or Coronavirus induced disease).


Similarly, it has been established that children have tackled the virus more easily than adults; and that children do not transmit the virus as easily as adults do. Not a single outbreak of incidence of Covid outbreak has been reported from anywhere after schools reopened, the doctors maintained.

Signatories to the open letter calling for responsible media reporting include Dr Amitav Banerjee from Pune, Dr Praveen Saxena from Hyderabad, Dr Veena Raghava from Bengaluru, Dr Maya Valecha from Vadodara, Dr Megha Consul from Gurugram, Dr Abhay Chheda from Mumbai, Dr K Arul from Chennai and Dr Gautam Das from Kolkata.

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