The virus we are looking at is a part of a large family called coronavirus, which is very wide spread and is the second most common cause of common colds.
The test looks for genes that some think is specific to the SARS-C0V-2 virus, but since not all coronaviruses have been studied, it is not certain that the test is detecting is the gene that is specifically from the SARS CoV-2 virus .
We cannot say that the test is as specific as we would like.
That may be why there is a lot of concerns about FALSELY POSITIVE tests.
If you only test people with symptoms, and you get a positive test, does that mean the symptoms are associated with SARS CoV-2? Maybe, but maybe not. False positives are just as possible in people with symptoms as in people without symptoms.
When you hear a public health official say they expect the number of "new deaths" to rise, they are saying there are lots of these folks lying in beds, and one day, their day will come.