Analysis: It’s hard to make good pandemic policy if the Texas data …

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One of the end-all, be-all coronavirus indicators — one the governor of Texas has said he uses to make decisions about whether and how to respond to the pandemic — has turned out to be pretty rough around the edges.

By the state’s own standards, the Texas calculation of the “positivity rate” tests negative. More than six months into the coronavirus pandemic, the state is changing the way it accounts for the spread of infections.

Gov. Greg Abbott made a big deal of positivity rates way back at the beginning of the pandemic. It was a new and unfamiliar term at the time, a way to measure the spread of the virus by tracking how many COVID-19 tests come back positive.

A positivity rate of 10% would mean 100 positive results for every 1,000 tests. It also just happens to be Abbott’s original danger signal — an arbitrary number he chose as a warning that the coronavirus was spreading too quickly and that a response was needed. By the same logic, a …

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