Updated with one important point–the same person could easily repeatedly be a “case” under our current testing approach. I should retitle my research summary series “coldmonomania” lives forever. I try not to get wound up. A couple of nites ago I went on a Twitter rant. Tonight I am going to rant here, but in a rational way, if possible. Our policy just gets stupider and crazier. No one learns anything. Our experts are not expert in anything except political messaging and it is bad communication at that. It is like people are incapable of remembering the simplest, most basic relevant information and applying rational, obvious logic to those facts as they exist in our situation. We need less testing not more. Yet everyone is talking about testing everybody all the time. Soon there will be no one left to do any work anywhere.
Here is the true situation. This is basic, basic information, anyone who claims to understand anything about viruses and their interaction with humans should know this:
1. I have explained this repeatedly, if you look in the presentation I have posted links to a couple of times (search YouTube or the blog, should still be up), I even have a visual I use to help people understand. Nothing short of wrapping your head in multiple layers of saran wrap will stop you from being exposed to a widespread circulating respiratory virus. Nothing. “Exposure” means you inhale some of the virus into your upper respiratory tract–your nose and mouth. There has been some suggestion eyes may count too, not clear from the research I recall.
2. The virus has one and one only purpose, like any virus. It wants to replicate. It does that by getting inside a human cell, hijacking the protein-making machinery and making more copies of itself, which then exit the cell to continue the process. When you are exposed, you become “infected” if and only if the virus gets inside one or more cells and begins that replication cycle.
3. A person is “infectious” if and only if either a) virus that they originally inhaled is exhaled, without infecting the person according to the above definition, which would be rare but could occur, or b) far more likely, they become infected, the virus replicates and the replicated virus is exhaled, coughed, sneezed or otherwise exits the person. (Some research suggested fecal transfer or other methods, I am dubious.) That expelled virus is then available for some time to infect other humans. As a side note, we still have no idea of the minimal “dose” necessary to infect a person, or the variability in susceptibility among individuals to different doses. It may not take many virions to do the job, which is one reason masks don’t work worth a crap, or social distancing or any other of our nonsense suppression of spread measures. This failure to be effective is further explained by our inability to fully identify how and how long the virus travels and is viable. By now it should be apparent to everyone that the virus has a travel and survival capability beyond whatever we are imagining.
4. Identifying truly infectious people and stopping them from infecting anyone else appears to be an obvious strategy to limit the spread of the virus, if you think that is an important goal, which I believe is at least arguable. It assumes, however, that you can accurately identify infectious persons before they are infectious. Even leaving aside issues about asymptomatic or presymptomatic spread, that is not a truly feasible possibility. It would require the absurd extreme, although some nut-case experts advocate this, of testing everyone, and I mean everyone, multiple times a day with exquisitely accurate tests, which don’t exist, and forcing them to isolate until they have a negative test, or just forcing everyone, tested or not, to have zero contact with anyone, ever. I am not sure even the latter course of action is effective, given what I said at the end of point 3 above. Obviously ends the notion of a functioning society. China has tried something like this and it works so well that they have to try it again, and again, and again, and again. See also Australia.
4. A PCR or other similar test, i.e., the rapid antigen tests (but not a culture test) is “dumb”. It has no idea what it is finding– it just attempts to see if there is a match to the chemical sequences used in the test’s primer. It does not know if it is detecting whole virus, fragments of a virus, virus that is capable of replicating, virus that is the result of replication in a human cell; it just says I found a match. So these tests do not with certainty tell you that a person is either infected or infectious. You might infer that from the amount of virus you detect with the test, but you do not know. These tests also have varying accuracy issues–levels of false negatives, false positives, “low” positives which don’t identify infected or infectious people, and so on, and these accuracy issues vary with the actual prevalence of the virus in the population. So we are relying on a tool which has limited value for its intended purpose.
5. When a person is exposed and the virus attempts an infection, various aspects of our immune system react, hopefully. There is large variability in individuals’ immune systems, some due to factors like age, some genetic, some due to varying prior exposure to pathogens and so on. This variability plays a role in a person’s susceptibility to any infection. Some immune responses are quite crude–a sneeze, a cough, make a lot of mucus so you spit or blow your nose. Some are generalized chemical ones–aspects of the immune system that alert and respond to any perceived foreign substance. Some of these generalized ones are semi-specific to chemical sequences common to many bacteria or viruses. And most importantly, some are quite specific to a pathogen, because the pathogen has been encountered before. This latter is generally referred to as adaptive immunity.
6. Adaptive immunity results from an intial infection and the body’s effort to fight that infection. Certain immune cells are capable of recognizing the chemical sequence of the pathogen, and then develop a “memory” for that sequence. The B cells that produce antibodies have this capability and another class of cells called T cells does as well. Typically after an acute infection, some level of circulating antibodies to the pathogen also exists. On attempted reinfection, those circulating antibodies and memory cells aid in a quick response to repel the invader. Some of these antibodies and cells may exist in the upper respiratory tract. This is a highly simplified depiction of the immune system–it is amazingly complex and has many components that are marshalled to defeat infection. Vaccination is merely an attempt to prompt the body to develop the same “memory” for a pathogen, without having to go through the risk of an actual infection. (Note also that many aspects of serious disease after infection are actually the result of an overly aggressive immune response.)
7. Respiratory viruses, as noted above, only want to replicate. If you try to stop them from replicating, they have a sophisticated enough replication machinery that they regularly make errors in replication–the chemical sequence changes. Enough sequence changes or changes in the right place, for example, where the virus binds to a cell, and an initial effective adaptive immune response may be rendered less effective. While some people say that the more replication opportunities a virus has the more likely it is too mutate, I think that ignores the basic laws of evolution, which operate among viruses as well as humans. The harder you make it for a virus to replicate, the more likely a mutation which restores its ability to infect and replicate will be favored. Along with allowing more replication may come changes which make disease more or less severe. The virus really only cares about being able to replicate.
8. So where are we? You have a widespread, easily transmissible respiratory virus. Exposure can’t really be stopped. You breathe in the virus. If you have been infected or vaccinated, you should have some immune response, but it takes time, unless you have exceptionally strong responses right in the upper respiratory tract that almost immediately prevent or limit infection. I characterize adaptive immunity as a rapid reaction force. It can’t stop exposure, it can limit infection and clear it before serious disease ensues. But it takes a little time for the memory cells to recognize the pathogen and call headquarters to get the antibodies and T cells and other components out to repel the invader. And what do we see now, we see lots of vaxed and prior infected persons who are exposed and if tested at the right moment, they will be “positive”. These “cases” or “infections”, however, are generally cleared rapidly, without serious clinical consequences and usually with no significant symptoms.
9. And why is the amount of testing we currently do stupid and increasing testing to an even higher level stupider? Because obviously the more you test, the more you find “positives” in people who are exposed, but not infected or infectious, or if they are, have only mild cases. The same person, as in Groundhog Day, could easily repeatedly be exposed and test positive. We could see an infinite number of reinfectons and repeat breakthrough infections. And now we are telling anyone who is positive to isolate for some time–don’t go to work, don’t go to school. And we are telling contacts of these people to do the same, even if they don’t have a positive test themselves. So we have tons of people who aren’t working, including health care workers at a time when we are worried about capacity and resources. We have people we think they have a disease because they have a positive test so they go to the ER or urgent care or their doctor and want treatment, for nothing in almost every case, for a cold in some cases. This further strains health care resources and limits access to care for people who are really sick with CV-19 or more likely, with heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, etc. We are making people anxious for nothing. And now we are calling even more hospitalizations and deaths CV-19 ones because lots of people are just incidentally positive for the virus.
10. And here is the biggest problem–we are creating a loop we never get out of. There are four current circulating coronaviruses which tend to be seasonal and have been around for a long time. If you three years ago randomly swabbed and tested people to find what was in their nose or saliva, you would find large percents of people with coronavirus, rhinovirus, adenovirus, influenza virus, and so on. Omicron is destined, I believe, to become one of these circulating coronaviruses. It is always going to be there and if we keep testing for it, we will find it and the idiots, and there really is no other word to describe them, who run our public health response, will keep trying to limit spread by these futile and damaging suppression of spread efforts. We will never get out of this, because the virus isn’t going away. And we are wasting our time and resources trying to stop a cold.
11. I made this point on Twitter. Omicron is CV-19’s offer of a truce. The virus wants to replicate. It is now saying, let me replicate and I won’t do much damage at all. Omicron apparently is less dangerous than influenza, which would seem orders of magnitude worse than we think it is if we tested for and attributed hospitalizations and deaths to it like we do for CV-19. If we have any sense, we accept the truce. If we don’t, there is a risk that something worse arises as a result of our suppression efforts.
12. So my prescription for current epidemic policy is a) stop testing so much. Only test people who are seriously symptomatic. No routine testing for health care, work or school. b) stop routine isolation. If you are really sick, whatever it is, stay home. c) stop reporting. Period. Stop reporting any CV-19 events. Out of sight, out of mind. d) if you are going to report anything, be complete and accurate. Give cycle number distributions, test for false and low positives, tell the real reason for hospitalizations and deaths. e) if any measures to limit spread are undertaken, create and show the public a full accounting of the benefits and costs. The measures so far have done immense damage, much greater than the virus itself. All policy measures must reflect this accounting and then the public can decide if the measure is worth the cost.
That is the rant for the evening.
Join the discussion 19 Comments
Rant on Kevin! This has been a testing epidemic from day one. This is another bug to add to our seasonal bag of bugs. Nicely said!
The very first thing that popped into my mind after reading this was “In Praise Of Folly”.
An excellent anamnesis of the malady that has struck Western cultures and a prescription of how to deal with it. Your “rant” is a perfect example of how intelligent people who don’t necessarily have a “credential” in a given field can become informed and make reasonable conclusions as to how to deal with almost any situation.
I appreciate your efforts greatly. I happen to be a retired internist with some 42 years of practice experience and I agree with you completely and have been frustrated by the absolute insane policies and the response of my fellow physicians to this insanity. An insanity that has occurred because of the toxic politics that have taken over this once great nation.
thank you for reading. If the epidemic has taught us one thing it should be that all human beings are largely ruled by emotion and belief rooted in emotion, not by rational analysis. That includes public health experts and medical professionals. You have to constantly examine and fight against your own biases and beliefs, and most people have no interest in that effort. So we are where we are.
Excellent recap! Clarity for a muddled time!
My opinion is this post is too informative to be considered a rant. More like a confrontation of inept leadership and a demand for course correction.
As always, thank you Kevin!
BRILLIANT AS USUAL! THANK YOU FOR CONTINUING TO RANT ON!
Will all the users of all the social media platforms who read this, please be Brave, and repost it to your various platforms.
Yes, in some cases, you will be censured or worse. But please be Brave.
I think there is an argument to be made that public health officials and others have learned how to ratchet up the fear in the populace regarding respiratory viruses. I first read this Der Spiegel article in the spring of 2020 when I was trying to learn about pandemics.
In rereading it today and comparing it to our current situation, it occurs to me that the “pandemic business” is alive and well. One thing that struck me was the article’s assertion that mishandling the “pandemic” caused a loss in trust for public health authorities.
Maybe the bigger revelation for me was how the World Health Organization changed the definition of “Phase 6 of a Pandemic” after a CNN reporter pointed out to the WHO that the conditions at the time didn’t match the definition for Phase 6.
It seems reasonable to speculate that the pandemic industry was ready this time with a PCR test that would not only juice the fear factor but also forever obscure the true impact of the actual virus—by over attributing hospitalizations and deaths to the virus. Even after two years, your service remains critically important and I thank you for providing a forum to circulate ideas.
P.S. Has the date and location of the brewery party been established?
January 9, 2022 at 7:38 am
“thank you for reading. If the epidemic has taught us one thing it should be that all human beings are largely ruled by emotion and belief rooted in emotion, not by rational analysis. That includes public health experts and medical professionals. You have to constantly examine and fight against your own biases and beliefs, and most people have no interest in that effort. So we are where we are.”
I have found that an understanding of micro economics has been one of the best tools to avoid biases.
Supply and demand concepts, marginal costs/marginal benefit, etc.
Those concepts cut across so many disciplines.
No doubt, epidemiologists and other experts know vastly more than I, including Fauci (cough, cough). The problem was those experts could not translate that superior knowledge to the population as a whole, primarily because they could see the forest because of the trees. I stated very early on that the masks would never be effective because of the trivial marginal benefit compared to the marginal cost. Note that I am speaking strictly from an epidemology standpoint (and not from the economic $ harm standpoint)
Cases are inflated also by hospitals who are paid extra for each Covid case, so they have an incentive to make every case a Covid case!
Kevin you were rational and not ranting. I must say I do like your rants.
I heard about a husband / wife doctor who fired their Nanny of 4 years because she tested positive for covid-19. They stated how it was so hard to do this because the kids loved her, she was really good but felt she was irresponsible for getting Covid and she had to go.
If this is the true state of our medical profession in America where does one start to fix it?
Thanks for the comprehensive and easy to understand review.
The lack of honesty from government and media as been very damaging. Censored misinformation from last month that resulted in twitter/youtube bans becomes today’s government health endorsed “science” until next week or next month whenever it becomes necessary to change the story so the experts don’t look like fools.
“If the epidemic has taught us one thing it should be that all human beings are largely ruled by emotion and belief rooted in emotion, not by rational analysis.”
That’s a bit of wisdom with **extremely broad** application. Thank you, Kevin, for serving it up.
Great rant Kevin, my sentiments exactly.
Here’s why the government pushes tests-
The sodium azide poison.
I have tried to find out why it is necessary to insert the two swabs all the way to the back wall of the cavity? If there is a Covid infection, why would the mucous at the back of the nasal cavity be any different from the back of the throat or in the front of the nasal cavity?
The PCR test is not accurate for the Covid virus. Repeatedly gives false positives. Early on, Elon Musk had two tests performed at the same time. O e can back positive, the other negative. Its inventor has publicly stated the PCR test is not suited for Covid testing. Why does the medical industry and governments still insist that people be tested with the two swab PCR test?
Nothing happens by accident.
The pineal gland is located where the swabs make contact with the membrane at the back of the nasal cavity.
Here’s what the pineal gland does:
In ancient Egypt, the Egyptian masters would have the pineal gland removed from rebellious slaves. Don’t know how they knew, but removing the pineal gland made the slave docile
Now, let’s go back to the 50’s. There was a huge campaign to add fluoride to drinking water. There was an active resistance to that action by a number of people. The news media never explained why there was opposition, just labeling the resisters nut cases.
Fluorine attacks the pineal gland, causing it to calcify, if I recall correctly, destroying its function.
Egyptian masters removed pineal gland to make the slaves obedient.
Are there dots to connect here?
So why do the governments and medical industry insist on depositing sodium azide on the membrane separating the pineal gland from the nasal cavity?
Destroying the function of the pineal
gland makes the victim more compliant.
That’s why governments and the medical industry still insist on the worthless PCR test. Has nothing to do with Covid, objective is destroying the pineal gland.
Same approach as the Covid disease. Purpose of Covid is to push people to take the toxic death jab. That’s why the fiends behind the death campaign will never announce Covid is cured or controlled until all of the population is infected with the gene modifying death shot.
Nothing happens by accident.
that is a kind of far-out conspiracy lunacy