Covid-19 Testing 1,000-times Too Sensitive?

News Brief by Kip Hansen – 7 August 2020

Dr. Michael Mina,  an epidemiologist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, says that “The standard tests are diagnosing huge numbers of people who may be carrying relatively insignificant amounts of the virus… Tests with thresholds so high may detect not just live virus but also genetic fragments, leftovers from infection that pose no particular risk — akin to finding a hair in a room long after a person has left”.

My analogy would be the testing of a Motel 6 room for DNA samples, a month after a crime had been committed in it.

Just how over-sensitive does Dr. Mina think that these PCR Covid tests are?  100 to 1,000 times too sensitive for the test to return a positive result “— at least, one worth acting on.”

According to a report in the NY Times: “In three sets of testing data that include cycle thresholds, compiled by officials in Massachusetts, New York and Nevada, up to 90 percent of people testing positive carried barely any virus, a review by The Times found.” [ my bold – kh ]

The technical point is that:

 “The PCR test amplifies genetic matter from the virus in cycles; the fewer cycles required, the greater the amount of virus, or viral load, in the sample. The greater the viral load, the more likely the patient is to be contagious.” “This number of amplification cycles needed to find the virus, called the cycle threshold, is never included in the results sent to doctors and coronavirus patients, although it could tell them how infectious the patients are.”  “On Thursday, the United States recorded 45,604 new coronavirus cases, according to a database maintained by The Times. If the rates of contagiousness in Massachusetts and New York were to apply nationwide, then perhaps only 4,500 of those people may actually need to isolate and submit to contact tracing.”   [ NY Times article ]

The New York Times math wizards have under-stated the over-estimation.  If Dr. Mina is correct, the number of people who may need to isolate or submit to contact tracing could be as small as 45 of those 45,604 – 1,000 times less than the total reported. 

The current number of PCR amplification cycles needed to report a Positive Test is 40

Any test with a cycle threshold above 35 is too sensitive, agreed Juliet Morrison, a virologist at the University of California, Riverside. “I’m shocked that people would think that 40 could represent a positive,” she said.

Dr. Morrison stated that “A more reasonable cutoff would be 30 to 35.”   Dr. Mina said he would set the figure at 30, or even less.

I tried and failed to create a graphic that would clearly illustrate the difference between the Real Positive Test Rate and the 100- to 1,000-times Exaggerated Positive Test Rate.  The real rate is simply too small to visualize if one shows the 1,000 times error.  This is the best I could do – the smallest bar is over-size due to the limits of your screen.

William Briggs recounts that the Governor of California has mandated that in order for “Most business to open with modifications” a California county must have “Less than 1 Daily New cases (per 100k)” and “Less than 2% Positive Tests”.   With a 100- to 1,000-times over count of true positives, California is doomed to remain locked-down forever.

Of course, the CDC is “helping” (quoting the Times’ article):  “The C.D.C.’s own calculations suggest that it is extremely difficult to detect any live virus in a sample above a threshold of 33 cycles. Officials at some state labs said the C.D.C. had not asked them to note threshold values or to share them with contact-tracing organizations.”

So, in the Mad Mad Mad World of Covid Madness, they are not only reporting Covid Deaths that are not caused by Covid;  they are not only reporting all positive tests as “New Covid Cases” despite lack of illness and totally ignoring the known false positive rate; they are reporting numbers for “positive tests” that are known to be anywhere from 100 to 1,000 times too high.

One only wishes that this report had come from some nut-case conspiracy theory web site.  But the Times has sourced the story well – even though it runs counter to the Times’ usual panic-driven editorial narrative on the Covid Pandemic.

Had this come from any less powerful source, Tweety, Facepalm, and Goggles would have suppressed the facts immediately, labeling it “Misinformation”.   

Welcome to the world of Medicine-in-Support-of-Politics.

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Author’s Comment:

This section is opinion.

Reporting positive Covid tests at two and three orders of magnitude too high is simply criminal – much akin to shouting “Fire!” in a crowded theater.  What this is doing to the United States and other nations is also criminal.

I can only hope that the citizenry becomes aware enough of the facts to remember them on election day.  Those responsible for the suppression of the economy and the destruction of so many individual lives — by the act of throwing millions  out of work unnecessarily — need to be held to account and turned out of positions of power.

Read more — Read widely – Read Critically

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207 thoughts on “Covid-19 Testing 1,000-times Too Sensitive?

    • Eh, a single stranded viral RNA genome is extremely labile in a cellular environment. ‘Fragments’ would typically decay or be degraded in minutes, at the very most hours to days.

      Extracellular would be even worse, with plentiful RNase enzymes to degrade them in saliva or nasopharyngeal secretions.

      The story sounds like handwaving to me.

      It’s much more likely that the lab contaminated itself with partially amplified material, which would be more stable and more plentiful.

      • Ktm ==> This is not a story about some single lab. It is a story about PCR testing for Covid in general at labs al around the country. The point that Drs. Mina and Morrison are talking abo ut is the number of PCR cycles run to detect an Covid viral presence. Since this is their specific field of study — and they are not associates,by the way — I doubt very much that they have misunderstood the basics.

        • Hansen, you spend so much time re criticizing the New York Times and now you use their article as a reference?

          No one dies directly from the flu — it is not a cause of death on a death certificate. All flu deaths estimated by the CDC are computer model guesses. Almost all deaths are people not in perfect health. They and their doctors may not know they are not in perfect health, but dying with any flu, except SARS1 and MERS strongly suggests other medical problems existed.

          It’s no surprise that testing is not 100 percent perfect and any vaccine, if
          there ever is one, will not be 100 percent effective.

          What really matters most is not the 1 of 1000 infected people that die, often near the end of their lives with more than one medical problem — what matters most is the suffering of the 600 of 1000 infected people with typical flu symptoms or serious symptoms.

          How many are in the hospital?

          How many are in the ICU?

          Those numbers are important because they affect so many more people than deaths — perhaps 600 times more.

          Today I found out two close friends tested positive. Both are in their 70s but in extremely good shape. I immediately dismissed the test results and asked how they felt. The man lost his sense of smell, but nothing else, Just like a friend’s 20-something daughter. The woman thought she had an ordinary cold. Two other friends had the worst flu they ever had iback in March. One for two weeks and the other for three weeks. Both in their 60s and in good health. Found out later it was COVID.

          What a strange flu with such a huge range of symptoms, from no symptoms to mild symptoms, typical flu symptoms or serious flu symptoms. I imagine it would be tough to design an accurate test with such a huge range of symptoms. Maybe the best test for the flu is that you feel sick?

          • Richard ==> You are absolutely right — you are not a medical Covid case unless you are sick — If you are not ill, have no or vague symptoms that go away, you are not a Covid “case”. A case of an illness is a person sick with the infective agent and under treatment.

            Even the Times sometimes allows something correct to be printed. The Times, of course, is not the source or a reference for the facts. The author of the piece, Apoorva Mandavilli, has done a good job sourcing the information, using primarily Dr.Michael Mina at Harvard/Chan, Dr. Morrison at UC-Riverside and Rasmussen at Columbia.

            Readers here have supplied links to journal papers focusing on this problem — it i snot new — just has been hidden from the general public.

          • While it’s illustrative to compare Covid-19 to severe influenza, you appear to unintentionally described the novel corona virus as a type of influenza.

          • Richard green, are you saying that 60% of individuals with covid or flu suffer? if the vast majority of those infected with either virus are asymptomatic, how can you state that. It’s not even close to 20% (closer to 10%?), never mind 60%.

        • Kip remember when the NY Times won a Pulitzer for their hard hitting insightful Russia collluuuusssion stories 😉

          The Times lost credibility a long time ago. They are basically an outlet for 3 letter agencies.

          Testing is a farce. MN’s governor Cuomo lite has no metrics for lifting his lockdown and mask mandate. All he keeps talking about are more cases.

        • As an infectious disease doctor I agree. The very first positive PCR test I received on a patient for tuberculosis was a false positive likely due to lab contamination. That was in the mid 90’s. Now many organisms or their products/toxins are routinely detected by PCR. As a result I commonly discount positive tests as just false signals in otherwise well individuals. We have very little guidance other than clinical judgment to make that call. Because CoVID is new and the tests being used recently developed with minimal widespread validation we should expect our view of what constitutes a positive or negative test to change substantially with time and more knowledge.

          • Dr. Pattullo ==> Thanks for weighing in.

            As discussed, it is not really that the tests are “false” — they just reflect a meaningless measure of the existence of …..

            Since my early traveling-man days (merchant marine) I have always tested positive for TB, Malaria, and sometimes Yellow fever — but never been sick from any of them.

            One time I had a lung cancer scare — that turned out to be an old TB scar (though I was never aware of ever having TB).

      • I saw a similar discussion back in July. Prof. Beda M Stadler from University of Bern claimed that there were many false positives based on remaining RNA fragments. Then a rebuttal from Satyajit Rath, National Institute of Immunology, New Delhi, that this material is cleared very quickly. For the layman, it’s like watching a tennis match.

        • Richard ==> Good link, thanks! FINALLY, the real doctors are beginning to speak up, at least in the journals….and in today’s case, going to the press. (And fortunately finding a journalist willing to cover the story).

        • The CEBM have been running with this since April/May when they began collecting papers which compared cycle-threshold numbers with the ability to detect infectious virus particles. I am not sure how many papers they have now got in their collection, but the fact that it has taken three months for this to get into any mainstream publication is another indication of the panic-bias in the media.

    • This means that the number of those who are now tested positive should be divided by 1000, also the dead, of course. They may die from anything and be counted as Covid if they have traces of Covid proteins. That means that there are 27,931 cases in the world, and a total of 905 deaths to date, in the world.

      Since the only thing that makes a death a covid death, is the PCR test, they may have died from any of the 150 viruses sirculating at any time or any of the commodities that most have. Only 6% seem to die from Covid alone, but remember even these are flu deaths where SARS CoV 2 is the only virus tested for. All of the symptoms are extremely vague and common to most flus and pneumonias.

      With the new information there have been only 194 deaths in the US and 6,529 people really contaminated. This seems ridiculous, but if the testing machine had been stopped at the point the researchers say, the numbers would not have been higher than that. The tests would not have been counted as positive, neither for the contaminated nor the dead.

      The whole point is that the false positives are both for cases and for deaths, so case fatality percentages stay exactly the same.

      • With this counting, we are approaching 200 deaths from Covid in the US.
        So where do all the other excess deaths come from?
        These could be results of lockdowns, e.g. not getting treatments in hospital for cancers heart attacks etc. I could also be from over treatment of anyone with a positive corona test, e.g. by intubating. Anyway, the deaths are in people at the average life expectancy or older, and may be “low hanging fruits” left over from a very mild flu season. Many old people may have died from neglect and have lost their will to live in the loneliness from lockdown.
        See more thoughts on Covid at cividscience.blogspot.com

        • NIH researcher, did we have a mild flu season or were some flu deaths attributed erroneously to covid… to maintain the fear factor? for power? for $$$? because orange man bad?

          Because the media, elected officials, and many medical “experts” botched this scamdemic and muddied the waters with so many lies and half-truths, the truth will be harder to find and conspiracy theories will come closer to center stage when they should stay in the janitor closet.

      • “THE GOV KILLED NANA’: AERIAL BANNER SLAMMING ANDREW CUOMO FLIES OVER NEW YORK BEACHES”

        CDC data on excess deaths between February and September 8, 2020 is shown in Table 2 at https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/covid19/index.htm

        The number of excess deaths relative to the average of all causes deaths in the preceding three years calculates out to be 155,343. That is not far off from the 174,626 reported deaths “involving” COVID-19.

        The excess deaths for New York City plus those in the remainder of the state total 37,424, or 24% of total US excess deaths and 18% of deaths attributed to COVID-19. However that state has only 6% of the total US population. Governor Cuomo’s decision to force COVID-19 patients into nursing homes was probably a major contributor to this discrepancy.

        Please check my numbers and let us know if you get something significantly different.

        • Ralph ==> Sending people with active Covid into nursing homes was KNOWN to be the OPPOSITE of what ought to be done from the beginning — data from Italy. Old sick people should have been isolated, Old people should have been protectively locked-down and protected from contact with sick people.

          Quite right.

      • Scissor wrote: “Take a look at France. Cases are far higher than in the spring and yet no rise in case fatalities. Is this just global idiocy or something more sinister?”

        Open https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/canada/
        Scroll down to “Daily New Deaths in Canada” – typically less than ten/day since mid-July2020 – and PROPORTIONALLY SIMILAR TO FRANCE, UK, GERMANY, ITALY, NETHERLANDS, EVEN NO-LOCKDOWN SWEDEN (since end-July).

        Open https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/us/
        Scroll down to “Daily Deaths” in USA – deaths bottomed circa 1July2020 at ~700 AND THEN ROSE AGAIN TO ~1400.

        Three anomalies in USA data vs Canada, which has 1/10th the population of the USA:
        1. Adjusted for population, USA Covid deaths in July are almost 10x higher than Canada deaths and total USA Covid deaths (193,699) are proportionally twice total Canada Covid deaths (9,146).
        This difference in data exists notwithstanding that Trump closed the USA to travellers from China several months before Canada did; this fact is countered by the actions of several states (especially New York) to deliberately infect old folks homes.
        2. The reported increase in USA Covid-deaths post-July2020 is UNLIKE ANY OF THE OTHER COUNTRIES CITED ABOVE.
        3. USA hospitals are reportedly financially double-incentivized to report Covid-positive deaths as Covid-caused deaths – even when the person died in a motorcycle accident.

        More comments:
        The fixation of authorities and the media with increasing “New Cases” is wrong:
        4. The Covid-19 flu will only die our when “herd immunity” is reached, and that is being delayed by all the masking and distancing. Forget vaccines, I won’t take a rush-job vaccine (and I take a flu shot every year).
        5. We WANT MORE CASES among the low-risk population because that is how herd immunity is reached.
        6. More cases is typically a function of more tests being run.

        CONCLUSIONS (Probable, not Certain):
        7. I conclude that USA deaths from Covid-19 are hugely over-estimated – total deaths by ~double (should be ~100,000 or less) , and July daily deaths by almost tenfold (should be ~100 or less).
        8. I also conclude that the reported increase in USA Covid-19 deaths post 1July2020 is false – none of the other Western countries cited above show this resurgence of Covid deaths post-July.

        As I published previously, the goalposts have been moved since March 2020:
        The full-Gulag Covid-19 lockdown was originally intended to prevent the “tsunami of cases from swamping our medical system” – A TSUNAMI OF CASES that NEVER HAPPENED! Medical people knew this reality by about mid-March, ~two weeks into the lockdown, but our Alberta hospitals were essentially emptied for over two months!
        Since then, the Covid-19 lockdown has been extended through today, about six months, and has squandered trillions of dollars and harmed billions of people, and for what? The lockdown has NOT saved lives – all it has done is prolong the life of the virus by delaying herd immunity – it may even allow the virus to continue into the next flu season.

        • Not to mention giving more time for the virus to mutate, perhaps extending the time for extinction indefinitely.

          • “Not to mention giving more time for the virus to mutate, perhaps extending the time for extinction indefinitely”

            Exactly! I meant to mention that. Thank you!

            Let’s hope these “Covid Alarmists” have not created the Perfect Storm.

  1. When this story first popped up, I tried to find the cycle threshold they are using in European countries. I couldn’t find anything, but maybe some here will have better luck. If we are comparing the US to Europe, which will be a major hobby/obsession between now and November, it would help to have a better handle on exactly what is being compared.

    On the flip side, our case fatality ratio is about half that of Europe. If we are overcounting cases, then our cfr is also mistakenly low.

      • A cycle of 30 would result in (1024 * 1024 * 1024 ) times the original quantity of RNA. Apparently tap water shows positive for SARS-COV-2 virus (covid19 is the illness caused by the virus).

    • If our positive test results are too high, then yes the IFR is too low. However, then SARS-CoV-2 would indeed be very similar to SARS-CoV-1, that is not very contagious, but with a IFR of 10% instead of 0.27%.

      • Don’t compare the actual number of positive test results with the actual number of people that are/were infected with the SARS-COV-2 virus. The actual number will never be known since we will never test 100% of the people (and even if we did, due to false +- even those results have error bars).

        A death is a death, but whether it is caused by the virus or not is open to interpretation as we all know. So the IFR like everything else in this “pandemic” is a monkey and a dartboard number.

      • Read the article, the one you’re commenting on right here. The author suggests that many of the people receiving positive results are not at the time of testing likely to be contagious. They were still infected.

        Everyone on this site is so quick to jump to “science isn’t good’ conclusions.

        • Dean ==> It is not quite correct to say “They were still infected.” It is only true that they were able to detect some SARS-CoV-2 RNA in a sample. That is not the same as “infected”.

          • Logical follow up should be, are these people that
            a) just got infected, meaning if you do the test again 2 days later they will have much higher virus counts.
            b) have had the virus and these are just remnants.
            c) are people who just got exposed to such so low virus counts it never made them sick or infectious.
            d) people who’s immune system somehow suppressed it immediately.

            My money would be that most would be (c) matching that many people who get exposed do not get sick. But if it is (d) that would be interesting a well.

    • It took me a while to get my mind round this since I had assumed that a test is a test is a test.

      My understanding is that the UK test figure is 40 cycles.

      I recently came across this guy — https://drmalcolmkendrick.org/category/covid-19/ Some interesting ideas, including a possible reason why the severity of this pandemic was overestimated from the start.

      • Newminster ==> Thank you for the link — a very good discussion of the problem with “Positive Test — New Cases”.

      • Mamy thanks Newminster. A great link and clearly an article written by someone who knows the subject well.
        This should be compulsory reading for all doctors and medical decision makers involved in any so called, Pandemic.

    • Ann ==> I am not sure that we are using the Daily Positive Tests — Daily New Cases — numbers to calculate Case Fatality Ratio.

    • This quote is taken from CDC’s weekly updated (for 9/2/20) COVID-19 provisional count of “casualties” by select demographic and geographic characteristics, in the discussion of comorbidities, referencing CDC’s Table 3:

      “For 6% of the deaths, COVID-19 was the only cause mentioned. For deaths with conditions or causes in addition to COVID-19, on average, there were 2.6 additional conditions or causes per death.”

      As I seriously question the accuracy of the cause-of-death figures, that CDC now admits to the distribution and effects of comorbidities in connection with COVID-19’s possible involvement, it now appears that even the death figures are considerably overstated. I cannot even begin to believe any case-fatality-ratios given by CDC or any other experts in the field, because it appears they have made a number of bogus assumptions.

      Given that I don’t believe that all of the “experts” in this field are not THAT stupid, and given that it is a presidential election year, I draw my own conclusions from this. These errors are NOT “coincidence.” This is another example, like AIDS, of the politicization of disease. And guess who was originally in the thick of the heterosexual AIDS kerfluffle (proven eventually to be overstated as well), getting high profile publicity? Anthony Fauci. Draw your own conclusions, but these are the facts.

      • Larry ==> The CDC report you speak of has been covered here at WUWT a couple of times.

        The CDC report has been misrepresented by many pundits — who do not read the definitions carefully.

        The real deal with that report is that it is about Death Certificates and ICD-10 codes on them. This is very different than a report about the actual CAUSES of DEATH of real people, real bodies. I may write about this effect in a few days.

        • Kip, I know what you are talking about. My whole point was to indicate that at this time, none of the numbers proffered by official government agencies were or are still reliable enough to have justified the draconian measures taken. Speaking of Death Certificates and ICD-10 codes, my own personal physician here in Texas told me that his partner in the firm they practice in was told by the Texas Board of Medical Examiners in regard to a patient aged 85 who had passed away that no matter what the apparent cause of death really was, if they tested positive for COVID-19, that was what had to be listed as the cause of death on the Death Certificate. Aside from the implied threat that was presented, there is ample financial motive for hospitals and doctors to show COVID-19 as the cause of death. There is a lot of extra money from Medicare, Medicare, and CDC that comes to these hospitals based upon the number of patients they see and treat with COVID-19.

          I believe a comprehensive medical and financial audit with respect especially to Medicare cases is necessary. Congress should require it when this nonsense finally ends.

  2. Years ago there was a standard method for detecting clostridium difficile in hospitals. If a patient contracted it as a hospital acquired infection, the hospital was responsible to pay all treatment costs.

    Eventually they came out with a PCR test, which was more sensitive. When a handful of hospitals started using PCR, their detection rates jumped and they were stuck with all the extra bills as a result. Some even considered going back to the old method.

    Over several years, hospital administrators disagreed over the value of the PCR test, and some doctors disputed the relevance of low level infections that could only be detected by PCR but not the culture method.

    But as time passed, it turned out that those hospitals who adopted PCR and stuck with it saw their rates drop back down, and even got lower that they started. The PCR test gave them actionable information that allowed them to treat early and stop the spread around the hospital wards.

    After that, every hospital jumped on board the PCR test and never looked back. If someone is saying a test is too sensitive in a pandemic, it’s probably for self serving reasons. Purely coincidentally, the new Abbott antigen card test is roughly 1000x less sensitive than PCR tests, which explains part of the PR blitz that’s been happening lately.

    • Now do pertussis. No mention in your comment of lives ruined due to false positives.

      The disease center did additional tests too, including molecular tests to look for features of the pertussis bacteria. Its scientists also did additional P.C.R. tests on samples from 116 of the 134 people who were thought to have whooping cough. Only one P.C.R. was positive, but other tests did not show that that person was infected with pertussis bacteria. The disease center also interviewed patients in depth to see what their symptoms were and how they evolved.

      “It was going on for months,” Dr. Kirkland said. But in the end, the conclusion was clear: There was no pertussis epidemic.

      Faith in Quick Test Leads to Epidemic That Wasn’t
      https://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/22/health/22whoop.html

    • Ktm ==> The American Society for Microbiology, the T.H.. Chan School of Public Health at Harvard and the University of California Riverside Microbiology Department are unlikely to have “self-serving” reasons for pointing out the over-sensitivity of the current standards for PCR Covid tests.

  3. The test is horsesheeit. But clueless politicos and their media apparatchiks herald every single positive test as a known ” case “, representing an infected and diseased Wuhanesque typhoid carrier who must be quarantined, isolated, shamed, and made to repent of his horribly evil contagiousness and sinning ways. Maybe he/she should also be tattooed with a Covid case number… so we know who they are.

    Sound familiar?

    • I submitted a question to the county health department asking for the rate of false positives to be expected for the of PCR tests that the county is using. Their response was that they do not know and it would not be possible for them to determine this.

      • Scissor, they’re lying to you. As usual from these local officials. They can’t admit to themselves that what they have done is completely bogus.

        • I don’t think anyone is lying to Scissor about this. If you look at the site for the originators of some of these saliva PCR tests, Rutgers University, you will find that the specificity and sensitivity of these tests is listed as “unknown”.

          I have asked our state department of health about how they go about establishing for certain that a lab case is a genuine case of COVID19. They interview the case, log symptoms, look for possible routes of exposure, and somethimes ask for a second test although I wonder if the second test is actually independent data. Nonetheless the amount of effort to establish the truth of the matter is so great that our cases under invetigation is always about 15% of a growing population of cases. In our state we have only about 3,200 cases, and have at present around 450 under investigation.

      • I can’t find it atm, but NEJM had an interesting article about these PCR tests. Specificity was quite high, over 95% so less than 5% false positives. False negatives were harder to calculate, but the authors estimated they were at least 30%. I don’t know how many cycles the authors data was based on.

        • Dean ==> The issue isn’t that the tests are false positives — the issue is that they can find SARS-CoV-2 in people who are neither sick nor infections and not going to be of any concern to pubic health. How many extra people of no concern — Dr. Mina says 100 up to 1000 times too many.

          • Where I am, Victoria, Australia, public policy regarding the lockdown is being driven only by case numbers, based on the tests, and positive results are much higher than actual numbers of people in hospital ” with Covid ” or indeed in ICU. The lockdowns and mask-wearing protocols will not be eased until a rolling two week average of positive tests goes below a certain number. At one point they were testing nearly 30000 people a day, in a state of 6 million. The newspapers have full page government ads urging people to be tested if they have any of a list of innocuous symptoms, including runny nose, cough, sore throat, headache, feeling unwell, etc.

            They have gone fully overboard on this phoney pandemic here, and it’s all based on the test results. The guy running the state is a far left Marxist cretin, and the chief health officer is a green nutjob.

          • Zane ==> as as Mina and many others are now beginning to bring into the light — “positive tests” are hugely overstated and include 100 to 1000 times too many people.

    • Thank you Chaamjamal for these references.
      https://tambonthongchai.com/2020/04/03/11187/

      See also
      GERMAN OFFICIAL LEAKS REPORT DENOUNCING CORONA AS ‘A GLOBAL FALSE ALARM’
      May 29, 2020
      https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2020/05/29/german-official-leaks-report-denouncing-corona-as-global-false-alarm/
      Germany’s federal government and mainstream media are engaged in damage control after a report that challenges the established Corona narrative leaked from the interior ministry.
      Some of the report key passages are:
      • The dangerousness of Covid-19 was overestimated: probably at no point did the danger posed by the new virus go beyond the normal level.
      • The people who die from Corona are essentially those who would statistically die this year, because they have reached the end of their lives and their weakened bodies can no longer cope with any random everyday stress (including the approximately 150 viruses currently in circulation).
      • Worldwide, within a quarter of a year, there has been no more than 250,000 deaths from Covid-19, compared to 1.5 million deaths [25,100 in Germany] during the influenza wave 2017/18.
      • The danger is obviously no greater than that of many other viruses. There is no evidence that this was more than a false alarm.
      • A reproach could go along these lines: During the Corona crisis the State has proved itself as one of the biggest producers of Fake News.

      Willis and I came to independent similar conclusions ‘way back on 21March2020 (NO LOCKDOWN) – could have listened to us and saved trillions of dollars and the harm to billions of lives.

      The danger of Covid-19 was overestimated by several orders of magnitude – the full-Gulag lockdown was NOT necessary. The current obsession with testing and emphasizing very-scary “case numbers” is also wrong. Forget vaccines – every flu in history has died because herd immunity was reached. We want herd immunity and we are preventing it with this lockdown nonsense. All the lockdown and distancing has done is prolong the life of this virus. The full-Gulag lockdown was wrong – the only remaining question is was it a deliberate scam – based on the evidence, it probably was.
      _________________________

      My posts of 21&22March2020:
      wattsupwiththat.com/2020/03/21/to-save-our-economy-roll-out-antibody-testing-alongside-the-active-virus-testing/#comment-2943724
      21Mar2020
      LET’S CONSIDER AN ALTERNATIVE APPROACH:
      Isolate people over sixty-five and those with poor immune systems and return to business-as-usual for people under sixty-five.
      This will allow “herd immunity” to develop much sooner and older people will thus be more protected AND THE ECONOMY WON’T CRASH.

      rosebyanyothernameblog.wordpress.com/2020/03/21/end-the-american-lockdown/comment-page-1/#comment-12253
      22Mar2020
      This full-lockdown scenario is especially hurting service sector businesses and their minimum-wage employees – young people are telling me they are “financially under the bus”. The young are being destroyed to protect us over-65’s. A far better solution is to get them back to work and let us oldies keep our distance, and get “herd immunity” established ASAP – in months not years. Then we will all be safe again.

    • The way out is to wake up from the spell that has been cast over peoples’ minds that covid is a generally dangerous illness. Worthless tests, exaggerated risk and mortality, labeling symptom-free “infections”cases, pathogenesis that ignores iatrogenesis are all deceptions meant to create the illusion of severe disease. It’s a virtual overlay on top of reality. Your way just perpetuates the illusion. Examine the data, reject the framing, move on with life.

      • In Ontario, where we are still wearing worthless masks, the government has reported that there is a 60% false positive rate. They still report all positive tests anyhow.

    • Completely agree but the FDA still insists that any test be under a Dr. supervision which is absolute BS. That is like making all at home pregnancy tests, which you can buy over the counter, be only done under a Dr. supervision.

      They seem to want a count, which they will get if the at home test is positive and the person goes to the Dr., just like the pregnancy test. The FDA has been a millstone to progress.

    • Mosher ==> I have not mentioned alternative testing approaches at all. This story is about the huge numbers being reported for New Cases based on the use of known over-sensitive PCR test standards.

      Love to see yours on Rapid Tests if you think that’s the way to correct this farce.

  4. All tests have false positives and false negatives. It is not necessarily wrong to bias testing one way or the other, as long as you are open about it. Biasing a test towards false positives would usually result in reducing false negatives, which may be considered to be a good thing in preventing spread of a disease. However, such a strategy would have to be coupled with secondary testing of ALL positives to catch the false positives. NOT doing secondary testing is unethical and economically destructive.

    • Phil ==> 2 to 3 orders of magnitude too-sensitive to call a Positive Test is a waste of pubic money and medical effort. We need to find those people who have Covid and are likely to be contagious. Finding people who are labelled “positive” but who are not contagious does not buy us any benefit.

      • I don’t think we are in disagreement. Perhaps another way of stating my point is that screening tests are useful for public policy purposes, but mistaking screening tests for diagnostic tests is destructive. Essentially, I think that is what has happened. Each type of test has its uses, but they should not be mixed up.

        • Phil ==> And I certainly agree. The waste of funds and effort to do the current type of RT-PCR tests has prevented more important work and has been used primarily to keep the general public panicked.

    • Yes. Unfortunately, decisions made on false positives are destroying lives and the economy.

      This is unverified, but so far in the U.S. fall college semester, between ten and twenty thousand students have tested positive by PCR leading to “cases.” So far, there has not been a single hospitalization among those “cases.”

      A significant point is that for that age group, severity of the disease is low and positives from testing are biased high.

  5. Kip I am afraid you have misunderstood the 1000 times too sensitive

    here is Mina

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wY-_dMpD03M&t=1s

    This is very important and key to getting out of this thing.

    the TIMELINE of infection is very important.

    You can think of it this way.

    A Less sensitive test can be a FILTER used to decide who should get the more sensitive test.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wY-_dMpD03M&t=1s

    the More sensitive test is used to basically decide when you are safe to leave the hospital or quarantine.

    Looks like some businesses and schools will use the daily cheap test ( costs a buck) to filter out people.
    but this smart approach to testing needs more support as the FDA is being stupid

    • I couldn’t agree more. By all means screen and quarantine (almost a Boris jingle there!) and test again to be released from quarantine; however, the stats should only reflect hospital admissions- ie definitely C19 – and ICU patients. If the UK had been doing this (as they did at the start) then the figures would have been down at low 100s, for admissions, for the past 2 weeks as the ‘case rate’ alarmism climbed ‘exponentially’ according to a SAGE map ember.

    • The problem comes when the low specificity test is used without a follow up confirmatory test with a high specificity.

      Politicians are using positive test results to exert extreme power over millions of people. Living in Victoria, I have first hand experience of this.

      • yeah ditto
        in qld a company is making a fingerpick 15 minor so test
        the FDA approved it and we are sending gazillions TO usa
        however dictatordan and the TGA wont approve it for use here?
        so 30 a month at a buck a test would seem to me to be far smarter than an expensive min 3 day wait pcr theyre doing now
        then theyre NOT testing asymptomatic in Vic either
        assuming theyre not spreading it is really stupid
        but again , no symptoms no test

    • Mosher ==> You are talking about the solution to the problem I highlight in the essay — there is no misunderstanding. You are just on a different track.

      Yes, Dr. Mina thinks the tests are too sensitive, yes he thinks too sensitive by 2 or 3 orders of magnitude.

      And yes, he thinks testing is good, but not this type of testing that results in wildly inappropriate governmental action.

      Feel free to write about what you feel the solutions to this Criminal Overstatement Problem might be. I agree that a quicky test that shows if someone is very likely to be infectious would be terrific. The numbers would be relatively small (divide by 10 to 1000) and we could then re-test and contact trace those who really matter instead of panicking ignorant governors and public health officials into ordering the s=destruction of the nation in order to “save it”.

      • I watched S. Mosher’s video link of Dr. Mina talking about quick tests, and must say I *am* a bit confused by the whole idea of the tests resulting in reporting of maybe 100x too many cases? Maybe we are really talking about bad or inappropriate aggregation of results rather than a problem in the tests themselves?

        Look, at the local media reporting level here in Saskatchewan where I live, I never seem to get any impression that numbers of actual cases in my province are being way over reported. Just off the top of my head, if say, there were maybe 40 new cases this week, up from just 20 last week, with every prospect it might be lower again next week, with only 12 people currently in hospital for coVid in the province, plus such and so number of newly recovered individuals, etc., how does that add up to a 100x over-reporting? At the same time, I’ve talked to a couple of nurses here who tell me that sometimes they do a more sensitive test to see if someone has been previously *exposed* to coVid, but this is never confused with the ‘active cases’ test, not at the hospital level anyway, and presumably local government and/or local media will never confuse it either.

        Maybe the point here is that when all these tests are aggregated into Worldometer and such, that’s where the conflation and the incompetence really hit the fan?

        • David ==> Different localities have differing standards and different testing strategies.

          Go through this entire comment section and read the various links that confirm what Dr. Mina and others are saying.

          • It sounds as though Dr. Mina may be exaggerating some ‘could be’ implications of doing tests wrong, just to emphasize what he thinks is right. Like getting 45 thousand positives down to only 45 that really should be tracked, say?

          • David ==> You need to read more — read the links to why Dr. Mina says what he says. He does not say 45 need tracing — I do, based on his estimation of the over-sensitivity of the PCR tests with current standards (number of cycles) for a positive test. Dr. Mina says that the positives at the current level are not “worth acting on”.

            We really only want to know positive tests that allow sensible medically correct ACTION.

            The knowledge that some may have once had something similar to Covid, or may have been peripherally exposed to Covid at some unknown time in the past is simply not worth knowing at this time.

            We need to know who .is infectious — who can be treated — who to isolate (and not just EVERYONE!)

          • It certainly is a shame if tests to find active cases are persistently giving large numbers of false positives, which are then acted on or reported as new cases. Even if just 2x the correct number are being reported in this way, that’s really far too many ‘bogus’ results.

    • For about $10 in the US you can get a 100 day supply of 10,000 IU vit D3 (1 million IU) that will get you way above 20ng/mL.

      • Not necessarily. A number of lab tests, about 6 months apart, showed no difference in my levels in spite of daily high dose supplements. Maybe vitamin quality control is very bad? I’ve tried different brands.

        • Might be an underlying renal dysfunction or storage issue as vitamin D is stored in fat cells. The commercially available vitamin D supplements still have to be processed in the kidneys and if an excess of fat tissue is present more vitD3 has to be taken in.

          Calcitriol, the active form of vitamin D that does not need any further processing, has to be prescribed.

    • I heard about this on Scott Adams’ daily rant. He thinks it, if replicated, might be ‘problem solved’. The effect size is huge.

      Results revealed that 13 out of 26 patients (50%) in the control group were admitted to ICU, and two died in the end. In the calcifediol group, only one out of 50 (2%) required ICU admission, and none died.

      Calcifediol is a metabolite of vitamin D3, not actually the vitamin itself. It should also be noted that both groups of patients were treated with hydroxychloroquine plus azithromycin (no mention of zinc?).

      So, it’s not guaranteed that taking large doses of vitamin D3 has such a beneficial effect. On the other hand, your body is capable of making quite large quantities when exposed to sunlight. In other words, I don’t think taking large doses is particularly harmful. I’ve been taking 4000 IU on a semi regular basis.

      This study is the most exciting news I’ve heard in a long time. How long will it be before it’s replicated?

      This link why they used calcifediol rather than vitamin D3.

      • “your body is capable of making quite large quantities when exposed to sunlight”

        That’s why all the Australian governments banned going to the beach and exercising at the gymnasium. In fact, anything that would improve your immune system.

      • As I read it, all patients were already in hospital before the HCQ was used. So it was presumably already too late for HCQ, with or without zinc.

        • Indeed.

          In any event, we need a study without HCQ present just to make sure the effect is solely due to the D3 metabolite. Of course, if HCQ is the standard of care, it would be unethical to deprive people of that just to satisfy our curiosity.

          An interesting study would be to test the D3 metabolite earlier in the disease when HCQ is not routinely used.

    • Epidemiology of Covid-19 and Vitamin D – Check out this article on the blog of Dr. Malcolm Kendrick, a Scottish GP – https://drmalcolmkendrick.org/2020/07/09/here-is-a-coronavirus-puzzle-for-you-to-ponder-a-guest-article/

      It makes a plausible case that the incidence and severity of the coronavirus outbreak is related to season which is related to sun exposure which is related to innate “herd immunity” imparted by higher levels of the sunshine vitamin.

      • Thank you. The article you link to is well worth reading.

        I followed one of the links in the article and came up with this. Based on what appears to be solid science, the amount of D3 I take is way too small. That would explain why I get the occasional case of the sniffles.

        Your comment is another example of why a daily dose of WUWT is necessary for my continued well being. 🙂

    • It is amazing to me the government is not pushing vitamin D. I can only think it because of big Pharma lobby.

      • SteveK => In the US, most milk is Vit D fortified, but only at rates of 115–130 IU per cup (237 ml).

        Of course, milk would not be your only dietary source of Vit D. Hopefully you’ve been ignoring the anti-sunshine creeps and have been actively exposing your skin to sunshine.

  6. Kip,
    those numbers don’t add up. If numbers are overstated by a factor of 10 then there are 600k cases and
    200k deaths suggesting a mortality rate of 33% which is significantly high than seen anywhere in the world
    and at any stage in the epidemic. If the number of cases are overstated by 100 then there are 60k cases and
    still 200k deaths.

    And if those people didn’t die of covid then you have nearly 200k excess deaths to explain away. What exactly did they die of and why did they die in 2020?

    • In my opinion, early on in the pandemic – March thru July – the infections were real. That was when most deaths occured. Now the deaths are low, but the number of false positives are high, so the IFR remains the same.

    • Izaak ==> You’ll have to be more specific about which numbers you are talking about. The numbers in this essay are the Daily New Cases for Last Thursday. There is no number in this essay which might represent “Total Cases Identified in the US.” I’m not sure where you are getting the 600k cases number — to use that to calculate mortality rate, that number would have to represent the number of positive tests of ALL humans. However, only a very small fraction of the population have been tested. we have NO idea how many people would test positive, by any standard, if EVERYONE was tested.

      • Kip,
        Even if you stick to last Thursday (3rd of September) 1066 people
        died of COVID-19 but apparently only 45 people tested positive according to the claims in the essay. Even a 10 fold reduction in positive cases would imply 4500 new cases and 1066 deaths which is a massive fatality rate that is simply unbelievable. COVID has a fatality rate of about 2% so there if there were 4500 cases the number of deaths would be about 90 leaving over 900 unexplained deaths.

        • Izaak ==> You are stuck in a mire of ill-defined terms and numbers and thus ending up trying to make sense of apples, bananas and pineapples. It is not necessarily your fault. Read the half dozen or so links provided by other readers — many of which explain the issues involved with the various terms that are being used — often incorrectly — in media reports.

          • Kip,
            You state that: “ If Dr. Mina is correct, the number of people who may need to isolate or submit to contact tracing could be as small as 45 of those 45,604 – 1,000 times less than the total reported.” This figure of 45 is clearly wrong given that over 1000 people died of COVID-19 last Thursday. The figures for deaths are likely to be far more accurate than tests since the symptoms are likely to be more obvious. So we can assume that the figure of 1000 deaths is reasonably accurate. So if COVID has a 1% fatality rate then there would have been 100000 cases last Thursday not 45000 and certainly not 45. So unless you can show that the number of deaths from COVID is overstated by the same factor as the number of positive tests then COVID is much more deadly than first thought — by a factor of up to 1000. Which is nonsense.

          • Izaak ==> You are mixed up by vague definitions. If over 1000 people died of, from, or with Covid last Thursday, which may or may not be true, it has no bearing whatever on the number of Covid Test performed around the country — whether those test produced positive, negative, or questionable results. The two numbers are in different spheres altogether.

            Most of the testing is being done on people who are not sick, not in hospital, not even feeling a little bit unwell. It is the tests of those people to which Dr. Mina is referring.

          • Kip,
            There is a definite connection between the number of people who die from COVID-19 and the number of people who test positive. The two numbers are not in different spheres but one is definitely related to the other but with a time delay of several weeks. Which suggests an easy test to see if Dr. Mina is correct — last Thursday by her figures there were 45000 positive tests. And if that number is off by several orders of magnitude and only 450 people were actually infected then in two weeks the number of deaths should be less than 10. Even if the number of positive tests was only off by a factor of 10 then in two weeks time the number of deaths should be less than 100.

            But we can do the same thing in reverse. Last Thursday the number of COVID-19 deaths was reported to be 1066. Which means that the number of new cases two to three weeks ago should have be about 50 000 given a 2% fatality rate. And in fact on the 21st of August there was about 49000 cases. So there does not seem to be an over estimate of the number of cases by several orders of magnitude unless COVID-19 is more deadly by the same factor which seems extremely unlikely.

          • Izaak ==> Do you read anything other than your own mind? READ the stuff from Dr. Mina, read the links to the explanations of how RT-PCR testing works and why Dr. Mina says the current standards over-state the true infection and cases rates?

          • Kip,
            Here is an alternative way of looking at it. According to the CDC between the 1st of
            March and the 25th of July there were over 200 000 excess deaths in the USA which was roughly 60000 more than the official figures for COVID-19 deaths. So if Dr. Mina is right and the number of positive cases is over stated by several orders of magnitude then what exactly is killing all those people?

            Which do you think is more plausible:
            1) that there is another unknown disease killing 100000 plus American Citizens that just happens to have the same symptoms as COVID-19?
            or
            2) Dr. Mina is wrong to claim that positive cases are being over stated by several orders of magnitude?

            Of the two options, my guess is that Dr. Mina is wrong since I think that the chances of there being a second unknown and deadly disease out there with similar symptoms is extremely low. It is very hard to argue with excess deaths.

          • Izaak Walton ==> Hey, is Izaak Walton your real name? Seems a little fishy to me…..

            You seem to have a Fixed Idea [ Idée fixe ] quite resistant to penetration by the facts.

            There is no measure of “positive cases” — anywhere. There could be, but it would come from reports from doctors and hospitals treating patients with confirmed Covid-19 infection.

            The Positive RT-PCR tests are NOT “positive cases” — they are simply RT-PCR tests reported as “positive” — and subject to all the caveats mentioned by Dr.Mina and many many other epidemiologists (if you read the links being supplied by the readership here, you would know this.)

  7. “even though it runs counter to the Times’ usual panic-driven editorial narrative on the Covid Pandemic.”

    Basically that is good news. The NY Times doing some honest research and reporting for once. The role of the media especilaaly the MSM is questionable…top put it mildly. It would be somewhat okay if they would limit themselves to what has been dubbed conventional wisdom. But no, panic and drama all the way.

  8. The New York Times math wizards have under-stated the over-estimation. If Dr. Mina is correct, the number of people who may need to isolate or submit to contact tracing could be as small as 45 of those 45,604 – 1,000 times less than the total reported

    I suspect that your assumptions about the math are incorrect. The NYT asked the states that reported Cycle Threahold in addition to a positive result—Massachusetts, New York, Nevada—for the data and based on the reported CT, estimated that up to 90% may not have had a live virus. We don’t know what those CT values were. They probably varied quite a bit, all the way to 40. Current COVID-19 test CT is set by the manufacturers at 37 or 40, 7 to 10 cycles too sensitive according to Dr. Mina.

    In Massachusetts, from 85 to 90 percent of people who tested positive in July with a cycle threshold of 40 would have been deemed negative if the threshold were 30 cycles, Dr. Mina said.

    The Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) process used to amplify the viral DNA is designed to double the number of copies per cycle. So a test that is 100 times too sensitive would need a threshold 7 cycles (128x) lower. One that’s 1,000 times too sensitive would need a threshold 10 cycles (1024x) lower. If the COVID-19 CT is 40 and should be 30 as Dr. Mina suggests, that’s 1,000 times less sensitive. If it’s 37 and should be 30, that’s 10 times less sensitive.

    Tests that are 100 to 1,000 times too sensitive don’t directly correspond to reporting 100 to 1,000 times too many positives.

      • Apparently, 20 cycles is all it takes

        Wow. They have known all along.

        The @NEJM report on THE VERY FIRST US PATIENT WITH #SARSCoV2 found that the virus was easily detectable after 18-20 PCR cycles on swabs taken on day 4 even though he had only mild symptoms.

        Not 40. Not 30. Fewer than 20.
        And the European CDC warned publicly in July that any test result from over 35 cycles could be due to “contamination of reagents” – in other words, simple lab error.

        https://twitter.com/AlexBerenson/status/1301179470490087429

    • stinkerp ==> The Times simply divided by 100 to get their number of those who should be followed up. They could have divided by 1000, which is Dr. Mina’s upper limit of over-estimation.

      I offer both solutions — in the graphic.

      • Where did you find that they simply divided by 100? I didn’t see that anywhere in the article. From what I can tell, they simply counted up all the PCR tests with CT higher than 30 and discovered that 70% to 90% were above 30. See my comments below for the math behind the difference between CT 40 and CT 30 and CT 37 and CT 30. CT 40 is 1,000 times more sensitive (2^10 = 1024) than CT 30 and CT 37 is 100 times more sensitive (2^7 = 128) than CT 30.

        • stinkerp ==> The math works either way “If the rates of contagiousness in Massachusetts and New York were to apply nationwide, then perhaps only 4,500 of those people may actually need to isolate and submit to contact tracing.”

          45,604/100 =~ 4,500.

          If Dr. Mina is right in his high end estimate of 1,000 times too sensitive, then the number needing contact tracing would be 45.

  9. There’s a strong similarity between how radiophobia was implemented in the public opinion and the exploitation of COVID.

    Radioactivity is detectable even at ridiculously low doses and, leveraged by the extend of public ignorance, becomes a prime political zombification strategy.

    I remember back in 2015 (or so) it was formerly asserted that someone in a Czech hospital inadvertently dropped a test-tube of iodine 131 (half-life 8 days).

    Which triggered panic in Germany as a something was detected by a low flying Cessna chartered by a NGO to monitor radiation.

    The ensuing panic was sold by the media as undeniable evidence of catastrophic planet pollution by Fukushina in 2011.

  10. In other words, when they analyzed the tests that also reported CT, they found that 85 to 90 percent were above 30. According to Dr. Mina a CT of 37 is 100 times too sensitive (7 cycles too much, 2^7 = 128) and a CT of 40 is 1,000 times too sensitive (10 cycles too much, 2^10 = 1024). Based on their sample of tests that also reported CT, as few as 10 percent of people with positive PCR tests actually have an active COVID-19 infection. Which is a lot less than reported.

    How this affects the case fatality rate is anyone’s guess. It could be that those “false” positives are reporting people who may have previously had the virus, without symptoms, and didn’t know it, or who were exposed but never developed a noticeable infection because their immune system rapidly neutralized the virus. Not everyone who is exposed to someone with a cold gets a cold. Our body’s T cell memory seems to be help us neutralize viruses similar to ones they “remember” from past exposure.

  11. Based on their sample of tests that also reported CT, as few as 10 percent of people with positive PCR tests actually have an active COVID-19 infection.

    In other words, they found that up to 90 perceent of the PCR tests that also reported CT had values above 30, the number Dr. Mina suggests as the proper threshold for identifying an active virus, rather than the 37 or 40 set by the test manufacturers; a number that is 100 to 1,000 times too sensitive.

    As an aside, it would be nice to have a better comment system than the antiquated WordPress standard. We can’t go back and edit or delete, or “like” comments. It shouldn’t be that hard to install a comment extension for Facebook or Disqus comments which are vastly superior to the default WordPress comment system used here. Here are instructions:

    https://docs.presscustomizr.com/article/215-using-disqus-to-manage-your-comments-in-wordpress

    • Stinkerp:

      “It shouldn’t be that hard to install a comment extension for Facebook or Disqus comments which are vastly superior to the default WordPress comment system used here.”

      You have no idea! 🙂

    • At least the comment system could check that the tags are well formed:
      – correct spelling of tags
      – all tags that work in pair are paired
      and reject incorrect replies.

      It wouldn’t be expensive or complex.

      It’s too easy to forget a missing tag!

      • niceguy ==> If one was coding up his own hosting system, and not using WordPress, then this could be done. But the Management and Moderators here are not coders (though they have waded through a lot of stuff over the last more than ten years).

        If you have trouble with HTML in your comments, use CA Assistant. — it it ages old but still does the job.

        See https://climateaudit.org/ca-assistant/

  12. The CDC and the WHO are now reporting that Covid-19 is the first virus to spread by means of what they are calling “homeopathic infection.” Global lockdowns to remain in place.

  13. this is all stuff and nonsense.

    We dont know the viral load for infection,
    we dont know the transmission methods.

    qt@35 = 35 billion doublings
    gt@30 = 1 billion doublings

    The paper quoted by ATM is illustrative; it is an EUA paper – not an FDA approved method. It basically tells experts how to develop a protocol using reference samples. Therefore the number of cycles (low) is used to demonstrate that the correct results are being obtained in both positive and negative samples – therefore that test is valid.

  14. In addition to C19 testing discussions, I believe (but not as a biologist) so this is an over simplification of what I have read & listened to experts in the UK so please correct me if anyone spots a gross error, that no RNA Corona type virus has had a vaccine against it ever produced (yet), however C19 seems to have a narrow range of mutations so there is hope, and progress is being made of hundreds of candidate immunizations here in UK plus abroad & some trials proved ‘successful’; next autumn seems to be the target date for mass injections. Maybe it’ll help against the common cold & seasonal flus?
    A point of note is that the general seasonal flu immunizations (of which I have as a T2D each autumn/fall) are at best 40% to 70% effective; success apparently tails off as we age. As with H3N2 the Hong Kong virus of 1968-69 of which my siblings & I recall that killed between 30,000 to 80,000 in the UK alone in that season (the HK flu pandemic of 1968/1969 killed an estimated one million people worldwide ref. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Influenza_A_virus_subtype_H3N2) and is still part of the seasonal flu and still kills 10’s of thousands of mainly elderly folk around the world, so one would conclude that Covid-19 will be around for decades to come.
    As such will lock-downs, mask wearing continue almost Ad infinitum? What is the end game to this scenario?
    Also is this scenario linked to the UK’s Professor whose partner was part of the Avaaz and did she influence his lock-down recommendations to our Government & others elsewhere as part of CO2 bashing ongoing campaign?

  15. This virus is political. I detect a lot of Marx, some Engels, a little Trotsky, a dash of Lenin, too much Mao, a sprinkle of Guevara, and the guerrilla smarts of Ho Chi Minh in its genome. The best treatment is a booster dose of Trump, a double shot of Old Grandad, and an activated BS filter.

  16. As icisil write, many died of iatrogenesis. I would add to that the discouragement of using HCQ/Zn due to TDS.
    How could anyone trust the infection count and is it at all relevant? – These figures will be subject to wide spread interpretation.

    The only figure less subjective would be the excess mortality as a whole. The general mortality rate also has the advantage that it can be compared to previous years and is a no brainier for layman and may even be comprehended by the press.

    • Carl ==> “may even be comprehended by the press.” — only those from this galaxy and my generation. The rest of the press is doomed.

  17. What is also criminal is that the CDC is not releasing any Wuhan Cold antibody test data (which has been testable since the middle of February) which would give a much more accurate picture of the Wuhan Cold’s actual lethality, and also how close we are to reaching nationwide herd immunity…

    Since NYC’s Wuhan Cold deaths have dropped to near zero, it seems highly likely that herd immunity could be as low as 25%, and not the unsubstantiated “70%” which Dr. Fauci and other CDC political hacks have been propagandizing since March…

    I wouldn’t be at all surprised if 60+ million Americans already have Wuhan Cold antibodies, but, of course, the CDC refuses to announce any antibody test result data, or what the actual herd immunity threshold is, because it doesn’t help their political agenda of defeating Trump, regardless of the costs in human life or economic destruction.

  18. Good posting Kip.

    I’ve been saying that the world we’re living in is a Monty Python skit where half the participants believe it’s real! And it’s not just covid but includes about everything from ‘global warming’ to ‘news’ reporting, politics, and well… just about everything. It’s like half of the country is tripping on acid!

    • “It’s like half of the country is tripping on acid!”

      I grew up in the 60s, the last crazy period in the history of the USA, so I can concur that this is a really good metaphor to describe what is happening today. Unfortunately, we are not dealing here with acid/LSD. We instead deal with a blind and fanatic ideology that thrives on the will-to-power, i.e., the desire to acquire power and control over all of humanity at all costs. They who subscribe to this ideology have no God other than themselves, no willingness to acknowledge a higher or greater power than themselves or the rest of humanity.

      We can see what has happened as a result of the brainwashing, giving rise to apocalyptic thinking, extreme risk aversion, and a fondness for central government action and control as a replacement for self-reliance and local community institutions that help socialize and humanize people. It will take a generation or two to overcome this unfortunate set of developments, but overcome we must. Or else we are heading for the darkest of the New Dark Age.

      • Larry ==> Pete Seeger said it best:
        “Oh, newspapermen meet such interesting people!
        He wallows in corruption, crime, and gore

        Ting-a-ling-a-ling, city desk;
        Hold the press, Hold the press;
        Extra! Extra! Read all about it!
        It’s a mess, meets the test
        Oh, newspapermen meet such interesting people!
        It’s wonderful to represent the press”

        https://genius.com/Pete-seeger-newspapermen-lyrics

    • Yes. More like 80% plus have drunk the koolaid and fallen firvthe gaslighting. As Goebbels said, tell a lie a thousand times and people will believe it. The bigger the lie, the better.

  19. #RapidHomeTests have a number of advantages over the “more sensitive” PCR.
    1) It may be administered at home. Anyone who has symptoms of a cold (mild fever, coughing) can test daily or when exposure is suspected. Many more of these will be done compared to the 15-minute-result test which must be hospital administered. The downside to epidemiologists is that the epidemiologists do not get data to judge the degree of spread. Death-rate would then be available only by estimating excess (over no epidemic) as is done for flu. We don’t use PCR to get perfect numbers for flu.
    2) A different mask protocol could be used. No mask would be required if the test were negative. If positive, or not taken, wear a mask (or self-isolate) until negative. Under this protocol you “know” that an unmasked has tested negative today. Relatively dangerous would be visibly identifiable.
    3) Any workplace from a meat packing plant to a restaurant could require the test upon arrival and sent home with a mask if positive.
    4) The economy could be reopened the same week the tests were made available to all who want them.
    5) As Dr. Mina points out in a separate video 100% compliance is not required. The more the better, of course. At worst, herd-immunity would take its normal course as would happen with no masks ever.
    6) We are well on our way to herd immunity in the US already. R-nought will be less than 1 by Halloween. At less than one a virus epidemic decreases exponentially.

    • Tom ==> I’m guessing you don’t mean “Alliant Energy Corporation NASDAQ: LNT” so I’ll go with the hiking and camping “Leave No Trace”.

      I generally agree with reasonable and pragmatic LNT, but not the radical “wash your fire circle rocks” versions.

      • I was referring to the Linear No Threshold ideology.
        I know LNT is used for radiation, that is why is said “ideology” because it appears that “no level is safe” mantra is prevailing.

          • Kip
            You said, “THAT LNT has always been nutty….” Yes, if it was valid, then there should be a clear correlation between the altitude that people live and work at and the prevalence of ionizing radiation-induced chronic diseases.

          • Clyde ==> This discussion is really about the Non-Science stance of so many scientific bureaucrats at EPA etc.

            Any second-year medical student (or even a Human Physiology major) knows that the Linear No Threshold concept is not valid.

      • I think he probably meant the Linear No-Threshold model of harm that is erroneously applied to nuclear radiation. i.e. damage is assumed to be linearly correlated with exposure, and there is defined to be no lower-limit safe threshold – every tiniest bit of radiation is considered harmful. Coronavirus is being treated the same way!

  20. It isn’t as new as it seems:
    To Interpret the SARS-CoV-2 Test, Consider the Cycle Threshold Value Published: 21 May 2020

    To prevent the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), it is important to identify and isolate people who are infectious. It is especially important to ensure that those with a high viral load are isolated and not able to transmit to others. Currently, diagnosis, screening, and surveillance depend on a severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) reverse transcriptase–quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) test, and results are generally reported to the ordering physician as positive or negative. However, the test does provide a measure of the viral load in the sample, in what is called the cycle threshold (Ct) value. We suggest that reporting this Ct value, or a calculated viral load, can aid in interpretation and clinical decisions. We discuss the merits of PCR tests and other approaches, such as time-since-symptom-resolution-based approaches for removing individuals from isolation.>/blockquote>

    • Krishna Gans ==> Thanks for the link. The more data we get on the issue, the worse it seems.

      If real epidemiologists have ALWAYS known that the PCR Tests standards were set way way way too sensitive for real world use — why has it continued for so long and is only now being made public?

      • Kip – read my comment to Ann in LA above. Perhaps your question is rhetorical. The reason this has continued is in my opinion rather obvious. This is the worst of the politicized disease outbreaks in human history, along with a massive failure of political leadership at all levels of government in just about every country in the world (South Dakota, Sweden, and South Korea being the notable exceptions). This is not coincidental; it is why some have started to conflate the reaction to what needs to happen in the realm of “climate change.” Once the US presidential election is over after Nov. 3, watch the COVID-19 thing die out. Sorry for sounding so conspiratorial, but the mounting evidence suggests only one conclusion.

        • Larry ==> You are not alone in the belief that once the US Presidential election is over — either way, oddly — Covid madness will fade into the background.

          many think that if Trump remains the President he will simply mandate away the madness by edict . . and only Democratic Governors will continue to try to rule their States by fiat.

          On the other hand, many think that if Biden wins, then he will declare victory over Covid and the madness will also stop.

        • “This is the worst of the politicized disease outbreaks in human history”

          BTW, the duty2warn petition is NOT a regular petition to the Government, it’s an attempt to delegitimize the President under the pretext of medical care and in their latest attempt to unseat him and give Presidential executive power to the CDC!

          Is anybody doing anything about their signers? I don’t say they can be jailed (although they probably should, it’s in nature a call to insurrection), but the loss of their licences to practice … well anything (hairdressing included) is the absolute minimum that can be done.

  21. So here in France they’re attempting to roll out the antigen quick tests as fast as possible because the labs are completely overwhelmed.

    They say 8O% of the RT-PCR test results are back in 36 hours, but I call government BS on that one.

    They are talking about a saliva test as well which might get approval this week.

    All this from the incompetent ministers who told us at the start that masks were useless, now telling us we legally have to wear them outside….they’ll have us sleeping with them on next, morons.

    Situation so far in Europe (EU)…..
    Population: 447,706,209
    Deaths: 182,839
    Percentage = 0.04%

    From health.com:
    During a March 11 hearing of the House Oversight and Reform Committee on coronavirus preparedness, Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, put it plainly: “The seasonal flu that we deal with every year has a mortality of 0.1%,” he told the congressional panel, whereas coronavirus is “10 times more lethal than the seasonal flu”

    Am I missing something here or is this the biggest panic attack the world has ever known?

    • Extract of press release from Young Medical Biologists Union

      POLITIQUE CONSUMERISTE DE RT-PCR : TROP C’EST TROP !

      Depuis lors, les biologistes médicaux ont toutes les peines à faire face à cette vague de demandes : Les cadences ont augmenté à marche forcée, passant de 300 000 tests hebdomadaires début juillet à plus d’un million début septembre soit plus du triple !

      Malheureusement, cet afflux massif de patients sature les capacités analytiques des laboratoires. Les files d’attentes s’allongent et les patients – même symptomatiques – attendent leurs résultats plusieurs jours, ce qui est contre-productif dans la lutte contre l’épidémie.

      De plus certains fournisseurs de réactifs n’arrivent pas à suivre et de nombreux laboratoires sont en pénurie de réactifs donc menacés d’arrêter brutalement toute activité de PCR Covid.

      Biologists can’t keep up. Testing went from 300 000/week (early in July) to >1 million/week (early in September).
      Testing capacity are overwhelmed. People have to wait more and more.
      Reactants producers are not keeping up. Some labs will have to stop testing altogether.

      The conclusion “que les français sans indications n’aillent pas se faire dépister inutilement.”:

      French people: don’t get unneeded tests!
      Health authorities: stop systematic testing!

      • niceguy ==> The French have know about HCQ-Azi-Zn — en effective anti-Covid treatment when given at first indication — almost all year.

  22. There is an excellent discussion of the difference between the tests and an interview with Dr. Mina on the Medcram website. Here’s the YouTube link to the 17 min. long presentation/discussion.

  23. I one of the knowledgeable people who addresses this issue would help, it would be good to know the extent to which miocarditis has arisen with respect to CR and IR? The reports from the University of Michigan mention 30% of “infected” may have hart-related symptoms.

    • Donald ==> This essay is simply about over-sensitive PCR tests being used to tag New Cases.

      In general, nearly all serious cases of viral diseases tend to have long-lasting side effects in some patients. There are good Covid web sites that collect all relevant news and papers.

    • Mkie ==> It might have as many as 5 infectious cases — but those will need to be retested for confirmation with a less sensitive test method.

  24. The author misunderstands deeply the point about sensitivity.

    Dr. Mina’s concept is about contagiousness reflected by Ct values. The PCR can detect the virus way before somebody becomes infectious and way after somebody was infectious. It is still an accurate test for the presence of the virus, it just doesn’t translate directly into information if somebody should be quarantined or not.

    Dr. Mina argues we could use cheap and fast antigen tests and still catch the majority of infectious people without using the more sensitive and expensive PCR tests cause the antigens tests are 100-1000x less sensitive than the threshold of the PCR test but that is where the viral load becomes sufficient to infect other people. That is all.

    The PCR test is NOT too sensitive in a way that false positives are generated if properly done with the right control samples.

    • Ron ==> Actually, I do not misunderstand at all. The current standards for positive tests using RT_PCR are set so sensitive that the number of “positives” are overwhelming — and are not returning results, to quote Dr. Mina directly, ““— at least, one worth acting on.”

      If we can no ACT ON the results, they are worthless — worse than worthless because they are being used to create and maintain panic.

      We test people to find those that can be infectious to others — those we need to isolate — those we need to do contact tracing on.

      There may be some academic value to the current standard, but it should be confined to academics concerned with such matters.,

  25. We test people to find those that can be infectious to others — those we need to isolate — those we need to do contact tracing on.

    PCR tests are exactly done for contact tracing. Antigen tests will have a high number of false negatives so they are not suited for contact tracing.

    Dr. Mina’s point is that PCR tests are mainly too slow to stop spreading if people don’t self-isolate if they don’t have symptoms but are indeed contagious. Antigen test are in his opinion sufficiently sensitive to detect contagious asymptomatic people or people who don’t know if they have just the flu or a cold and to fill that gap of rapid testing that PCR tests cannot.

    So antigen tests are not for the detection of all currently infected people but for currently infectious people. Infected vs. infectious is the important discrimination here. All infectious people are infected but not all infected are already or still infectious.

    • Ron ==> And not all people who have a positive PCR test under current standards (40 cycles)_ are infected.

      • They are if the PCR product is specific which can be proven by sequencing. RNA is not exceptionally stable outside of a cellular protective environment because of the presence of secreted RNases, RNA degrading enzymes, so a positive PCR is an indicator for viral particles.

        The chances the viral particles are present because of a very recent exposure not infection is negligible.

        • Ron ==> s always, everyone is welcome to their own opinions. You apparently aren’t reading the supporting links.

          • I’m working with RNA. I know from experience that our environment is contaminated with RNases. It’s one part of our own and our microbiome viral defence mechanism.

            RNA on itself is a surprisingly thermodynamically stable molecule.

          • Ron ==> With apologies, I am having trouble understanding your point(s).

            You are onboard with Drs. Mina and Morrison (and many others) stating that basing a “positive” test result on 37-40 cycles is returning to many positives that are not “worth acting on.”? Too many being in the range of 100 to 1000 time too many? Yes? No?

            [I ask because that is the topic of this News Brief….]

            I know that Dr. Mina has a whole speil about what he thinks we ought to do about that … but that’s another topic for another time.

        • I read that people working with cows have been found positive for “cowrona” – but they never catch it. It’s simple contamination.

  26. In UK at the moment an entirely different method of controlling the infection rate is happening.

    If you have symptoms and request a test, you cannot get one!

    As to deaths caused by Covid 19 :- well all tests and statistics have uncertainty. But if the absolute number of excess deaths is in the same order as the paradigm derived “Covid 19 deaths” then I begin to believe the statistics are correct.

    • John ==> In the US, “Total Deaths” are below normal deaths for the time of year. — thus “Excess Deaths” are negative. see William Briggs’ blog.

      • If that’s caused by less car accidents and workplace accidents, all “other” things being equal, that’s a very bad thing. Car and workplace death being a side effect of beneficial activities. Relevant values are (d driving-accidents/dt)_{driving}
        and (d workplace-accidents/dt)_{full-time-jobs}

        All other things being equal: you could decrease car accident with less distracted driving, all “other” things being equal, but that is not what happened; value of (d distracted-driving / dt)_{driving}

  27. Epilogue:

    Obviously, Covid-19 and SARS-CoV-2 hot topics. A great deal of useful discussion, a lot of readers have supplied good links to other sources of supporting information.

    The beauty of WUWT is that people are allowed to state their opinion, their view, and as long as they are minimally polite and follow these very relaxed commenting rules [ https://wattsupwiththat.com/policy/ ], everyone else reading here gets to see them. The Management and Moderators almost never censor or delete — you really have to step very far out of line for that to happen. Readers are allowed to be pugnacious, persistent, pesteracious and rude. Even light rank name-calling is overlooked.

    I try to be patient with even the worst offenders…..albeit, not always successfully.

    I wish everyone commenting would use their own real names — I am annoyed by those who don’t do so. We even have one long-dead famous English angler commenting on this thread. I acknowledge that there are some instances — some individuals – who can not do so for social/political reasons — like fear of Tweety-mobbing or damage to their careers.

    I would prefer if each comment started with the name of the person being addressed (if this is the case — some comments are addressed to everyone). Some other blogs use the artifice of beginning your comment with “@JoeBlow” if you hit the reply link under JoeBlow’s comment. I encourage you to use whatever system you prefer, but do start your comment with the name of the person to whom you are “speaking”.

    Thanks for reading.

    # # # # #

  28. late to the discussion but here is an idea… blind sampling.. take 1% of all tests don at all testing labs.. use samples varying from distilled water to pure virus and that will give a measure of the accuracy of the tests..

    Ideas??

    • Slyrik ==> The issue disussed here is not “accuracy” but rather whether the tests (the RT-PCR tests) being done represent actionable information when they give a “positive” result.

        • Slyrik ==> As currently being done and reported in most places, the tests are of NEGATIVE value — they mislead rather than inform.

          These tests do have some academic value — but are less than worthless in the public health fight against SARS-CoV-2.

          • I agree Kip thats why I suggested “testing the tests”… that would clearly show their unreliability and inappropriate use for measuring the level of infection in the population and so being used to justify these draconian policies.
            I am no conspiracy theorist but all this is known. The only conclusion I van come to is that there is something else going on… another agenda.

  29. I believe the new $5 15 minute tests will be a game changer.

    ie; every office building, retail store you go into, sporting event, you will pay your $5 and wait 15 minutes. only people testing negative will get it. and can do anything with your negative test the entire day. No masks needed. Life almost back to normal.

    On the flip side, our politicians won’t want to give up their power so easily. They will regulate these tests, or something stupid to keep their power over us.

    • With the $1 home test, only go maskless if you test negative today. (Perhaps the test comes with stickers that say “I tested NEGATIVE today.”)
      It does rely on about half (or more) of the people doing this.

      • Old George ==> A lot cheaper just to make a homemade tag to wear that just says:

        “I’m OK — I tested NEGATIVE today”

        and wear it every day. Save all that testing money.

        • “Save all that testing money.”
          Some will cheat, I suppose. But, then again, people often pull masks below the nose. Others wear vented N95’s too. But how many, do you suppose, would forge an “I tested today” sticker to save $1.00. I daresay very few.

          • Old George ==> I’m not very confident that there will be ubiquitously available $1 Covid tests anytime soon ( or ever ).

            Even if they develop and mass produce them, they will be a waste of even that little bit of money.

            See the last comment in from me at the bottom .. starts with UPDATE.

  30. And, the $5 15-minute test means a trip to the hospital or a doctor’s office which has the equipment, so an additional medical charge.

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