It would have been hard to know in March 2020 that Covid-19 testing limitations in New York City would help lead doctors at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx to a fascinating surprise.
Testing for Covid at the time was sluggish and expensive and in limited supply. Hospitals across the city were beginning to overfill. So doctors at the hospital often ordered several tests for patients, trying to identify — or eliminate from suspicion — other possible infections.
First, they’d rule out influenza and RSV, common infections. Then, they’d test for Covid-19 and a slew of other viruses using the same sample at the same time.
What they found was eye-opening. Over a month’s time, tests showed that nearly 5 percent of patients had not only Covid, but another viral respiratory infection, too.
At first, doctors worried more for these patients, whose immune systems were fighting two battles at once.