Rated CV-R, some ranting may occur in this post. The final coronavirus briefing of the week was a doozy. Very serious, because we supposedly had 2300 new cases reported today, on absurd testing volume, over 40,000 tests. Soon we will be testing 1% of all Minnesotans every day. Prevalence is very low, so all this testing is just generating false and low positives, that distract attention from people who may actually be infectious. But the bizarre thing is that the Commissioner insisted the cases were not partly due to a testing dump, as has occurred before. Unfortunately for her, the website specifically says “Results from 4/29, 6/3, 8/18, 8/26, 9/1, 9/9, and 10/15 included a backlog of tests loaded into our system.” Those 10/15 results are the ones reported today. So there weren’t 2300 cases today. And on any day cases are reported, the cases are from specimens collected days earlier. So who knows how many new cases there actually were today. It isn’t 2300.
The tone was extremely somber, and the case growth is because we have all let our guard down and aren’t doing our part. We all have to take action, it makes a big difference. It makes no difference. Masks, contact tracing, social distancing, etc., no difference. Then the statement again that this is largely asymptomatic spread. Please, please prove this from contact tracing. If not, stop saying it. Our infectious disease director chimed in about health care worker spread. This is a serious issue because of staffing concerns. But if health care workers, who understand preventive measures, and who mask all the time, are getting infected, it just reflects how laughable it is to think we can stop spread.
Then we heard from the head of a large health system, who referred to this as a preventable disease. I beg to differ. When are people going to wake up and face reality. But the most revealing thing she said was that hospital use was growing not just because of an increase in CV cases but because of delays in medical care leading to hospitalizations that could have been avoided. No one followed up on that. But that is due to the terrorization campaign and is an admission that the campaign has caused health damage. She needs to tell the IB to cut it out, instead of just begging people to not defer care.
I have noted concern about the likelihood of large numbers of false positives and low positives before, and how that risk increases as testing rises dramatically. This is semi-anectodal, but sports fans will have noted the very high percent of positive tests among sports teams that are followed by negative tests, indicating that the first one was a false positive. Coach Nick Saban is the most recent high profile figure to have this happen to them. And four members of the Indianapolis Colts who allegedly were positive a day ago, all tested negative on the follow-up. The situation is bad enough that every positive should require an immediate followup, on the same sample, or do a double test on that original sample. I suspect that 15% to 20% of all positives are false and another 25% are low positives. The state could easily do a study to figure this out. Seems like it might be important to identify, doesn’t it?
It isn’t that I don’t think there is a rise in cases; unless there is some really nefarious hospital game playing going on, the level of hospitalizations confirms this. But the public is entitled to full transparency–tell us how many false positives there are, at least give us the distribution of cycle numbers on positive cases, give us contact tracing results, give us deaths by date of death, give us hospitalization by daily census as well as daily admits, and on and on. I am sorry, I would like to trust officials, but given the heavy messaging orientation of this group, I don’t believe these data choices are an accident.
And it is far past time to acknowledge that the state response has been a massive failure. The mask mandate hasn’t made a lick of difference. All that testing that is designed to feed contact tracing programs, no impact. The LTC facility battle plan–still seeing the most deaths in that setting. If they didn’t lie and mislead about the potential impact of those efforts, I would cut them a lot of slack, because I don’t think anything would make much of a difference, short of locking people in their homes, and we see the costs of that kind of approach. The virus is going to do what it will do, as always. But when you act like these mitigation of spread tactics are going to substantially change the trajectory of the epidemic, and even worse, when you browbeat the population as though it is their fault that ill-conceived and incompetently executed programs fail, I am not going to give you any slack. The Walz Administration response has been a disaster–economically, healthwise, educationally, socially and every other way you can imagine. And instead of owning up to it or at least being honest about the uncertainty in attempts to mitigate spread, we never get any sense of humility and blame is cast everywhere else–the virus, the citizenry, the federal government, our neighboring states. Same old pathetic same old.