Medical-testing firm Becton Dickinson says it’s investigating false-positive coronavirus test results reported at nursing homes around the US.
The New Jersey-based company, also known as BD, said a “small number” of nursing homes are reporting multiple false-positive COVID-19 tests from its Veritor Plus machine, which can deliver results in 15 minutes.
Roughly a dozen sites have experienced a “significant number” of the incorrect results, while several others have only seen one or two, according to The Wall Street Journal, which first reported on the problem Tuesday.
“Following our standard quality management system processes, upon learning of these reports, BD immediately contacted the sites, and we are actively investigating the situation to obtain additional details,” BD spokesman Troy Kirkpatrick told The Post in an email.
False positives — which indicate a person has the deadly coronavirus when they actually don’t — are particularly dangerous in nursing homes because they could lead healthy patients to be placed in areas with infected people, according to the Journal.
For example, eight residents and three workers at Dallas’s Presbyterian Village North nursing home were moved to a unit for people with the deadly virus after they tested positive on a BD device in early September, the Journal reported. But all of their results from a more precise lab-based test came back negative and they were taken out of the unit, according to the paper.
The US Department of Health and Human Services is also keeping an eye on the situation, the Journal reported. The agency said last month that it would ship rapid testing machines from both BD and Quidel Corporation to about 14,000 nursing homes.
The reported false positives don’t reflect the results from BD’s clinical studies conducted with the Veritor Plus system, which showed the machine correctly generated negative results for 98 to 100 percent of people who didn’t have the virus, according to Kirkpatrick.
“BD takes its responsibility very seriously under our agreement with HHS to provide more than 11,000 nursing homes with high-quality and reliable tests to support their efforts to protect residents and staff from COVID-19,” he said.
COVID-19 puts nursing home residents at high risk because they live together and often have underlying medical conditions, health officials say. Nursing homes across the country had reported more than 216,000 coronavirus cases and 53,196 deaths as of Aug. 30, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
BD shares were down 1.4 percent at $232.56 as of 10:21 a.m. Tuesday.
Target muscles in on Amazon’s Prime Day — again
Target has finally announced the date for its big annual shopping event — and it just so happens to coincide with Amazon’s Prime Day.
Target’s Deal Days event will take place on October 13 and 14 and “will feature digital deals on hundreds of thousands of items, more than double last year,” the company said in a statement on Monday.
Target did not address the fact that Amazon’s annual discounting event, also announced on Monday, will take place on the same two days. The giant retailers have overlapped and locked horns before over their competing sales events.
In launching its two-day shopping event in 2018, Target took a swipe at Amazon’s $119 Prime membership fee by pointing out that Target shoppers don’t need to be members to get its discounts.
The program’s debut, which offered up to 50 percent off home goods, apparel and national brands, ended up being one of the biggest days of the year for Target’s online sales, the company said at the time.
Amazon’s Prime Day is usually held in July, but it postponed the five-year-old shopping extravaganza this year due to the coronavirus, which strained Amazon’s ability to deliver and fulfill orders in the early days of the pandemic.
Now that its been moved to October, Prime Day is expected to be the largest shopping day of the fourth quarter, overshadowing both Black Friday and Cyber Monday, according to a Retailmenot survey of retailers.
One reason is that other retailers are expected to jump on the Oct. 13-14 bandwagon, said Sara Skirboll, a shopping and trends expert at Retailmenot, which tracks deals. Retailers are expected to offer the deepest discounts of the year at this time in part to appease shoppers looking to avoid the holiday crush as well as delivery delays caused by the coronavirus.
Forty-six percent of shoppers this year say they will start their holiday shopping earlier, up from 38 percent last year, Skirboll said. “We know that shoppers are looking to start shopping earlier than ever, because they are concerned about getting their items on time this year.”
Google gives Netflix, Spotify a year to start paying app store fees
Google is done playing Mr. Nice Guy.
The search giant on Monday said it will no longer give high-profile app developers a pass on its 30-percent app store fee starting next year. Google said it will start enforcing its policy requiring developers to use its payments system starting Sept. 2021.
The move comes as some developers, including Netflix and Spotify, have been getting around paying Google its steep cut of their revenue by asking users to enter their credit card information into their own apps.
The change will see the Play Store follow in the footsteps of Apple’s App Store, which has in recent months been criticized by some of tech’s biggest names for the steep fees it charges developers who want their apps to be available on iPhones and iPads.
Last week, Spotify, Tinder parent Match Group and “Fortnite” developer Epic Games — which over the summer got itself kicked out of Apple’s and Google’s stores when it implemented a new payments system in its ultra-popular game — announced they were joining a non-profit coalition with the goal of pressuring Apple to change its stance on fees.
Google had been turning a blind eye to this behavior until now, saying in a blog post that it wanted to “clarify” its rules, and added that 97 percent of the developers on its app store who sell digital goods abide by the rules.
“But for those who already have an app on Google Play that requires technical work to integrate our billing system, we do not want to unduly disrupt their roadmaps and are giving a year to complete any needed updates,” the company said.
United Airlines pilots reach deal to avert 2,850 furloughs
United Airlines’ pilots voted on Monday to accept a deal that would avert 2,850 furloughs set for Thursday, while thousands of other US airline employees are hoping Congress will extend federal aid to save their jobs.
An initial $25 billion government bailout that covered airlines’ payrolls and protected jobs for six months expires on Sept. 30, driving a fervent last-minute push by the industry for Congress to agree on a fresh stimulus package.
Chicago-based United has already put in motion steps to furlough around 12,000 frontline employees, excluding pilots, on Thursday, officials said.
Under the agreement with its pilots, United’s drastically reduced flying schedule due to the coronavirus pandemic will be spread across its entire pilot base, saving jobs and reducing the need for costly training once demand returns.
US airlines have argued that without support from Washington, they will not have a trained workforce in place once demand that is down about 70 percent from last year starts to recover.
American Airlines, which is lobbying hard for a fresh bailout, is preparing to furlough 19,000 workers on Oct. 1, though Chief Executive Doug Parker said on Sunday he was “confident” that proposed bills with airline relief could be passed before Thursday.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the top Democrat in Congress, said on Sunday she thinks a deal can be reached with the White House on a coronavirus relief package and that talks were continuing, but it was unclear whether an agreement could emerge in such a short amount of time.
Last week Democratic lawmakers were starting to draft a bill totaling at least $2.2 trillion.
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