Thursday, March 19, 2020

Is the Current COVID-19 Testing Designed to Create Panic?

There is a lot about current testing for COVID-19 infections that doesn't make a lot of sense.

First, even the Center for Disease Control admits that over 95% of those tested for COVID-19 come back negative. Since those being tested are screened so that only those with symptoms are being tested, it suggests that most simply have the flu or a cold.

Over 1 million have been tested for the flu this year, which suggests there are plenty of the tests available. Why aren't the people with symptoms tested for the flu first?

From the CDC:
A number of flu tests are available to detect influenza viruses in respiratory specimens. The most common are called “rapid influenza diagnostic tests (RIDTs).” RIDTs work by detecting the parts of the virus (antigens) that stimulate an immune response. These tests can provide results within approximately 10-15 minutes, but are not as accurate as other flu tests. Therefore, you could still have the flu, even though your rapid test result is negative. Other flu tests are called “rapid molecular assays” that detect genetic material of the virus. Rapid molecular assays produce results in 15-20 minutes and are more accurate than RIDTs. 
If you can get results this rapidly, you would eliminate the demand for the much of the limited availability of COVID-19 tests by eliminating those that just have the flu.

Second, even if someone likely has COVID-19, why are they being tested? It may make sense to test those who have severe symptoms to determine proper treatments but if the symptoms are mild, why isn't the advice to anyone who has symptoms to: Go to bed and stay in bed until you are symptom-free for 3 days, 5days, whatever. If your symptoms get worse at any point come back in.

This is pretty much what is being done for flu patients.

Despite 35 million plus having the flu this season, only roughly a million have been tested. You just don't need to test most who are infected.

The CDC even writes:
Most people with flu symptoms are not tested because the test results usually do not change how you are treated.
This makes a lot of sense whether its the flu or COVID-19. You tell people to stay in bed if they have the symptoms with maybe the added recommendation that people self-quarantine these days for an extra few days after symptoms are gone.

There are limited cases where it does make sense to test but the way tests for COVID-19 are being conducted now is positively nutty. It tells us very little and panics the public because confirmed cases are going up, but largely because more people are being tested, not necessarily because the virus is infecting more.

This is not how you would run a scientific experiment to understand what is going on with a virus in the general public.

For that, all that would be required is testing a sample of the general public. That way you catch those that are without symptoms but more than that you get a very good sense of how the number of cases relates to the total population overall and, over time, whether it is going up or down etc.

You can use the basic methodology of polling firms to get small population samples for understanding the virus profile in the general population. This would actually tell us something.

The current method of testing does none of this. Either the medical advisers surrounding Trump are incompetent or know better and have a separate agenda to stoke fear.


1 comment:

  1. Robert if you apply the scientific study that concludes that 6 of 7 infected (86%) are Asymptomatic (thus not nested) to his Korean example the math looks like this:

    9000 confirmed cases / 0.15 (15%) = 60,000 estimated total infected Corona in S Korea

    75 confirmed dead / 60,000 estimated S Korean cases = 0.00125 or 0.125% mortality rates

    If you throw in all estimated cases, which is by the way how our CDC
    determines flu mortality rates (22,000 flu deaths / 36 million estimates
    flu case - only a small fraction are actually ever tested & confirmed for the flu
    really in the U.S. so yes its estimated - for a 0.01% flu mortality
    rate), then based on the Korean example this will end up being more
    inline with the flu for virulence

    Certainly we would say the, to put it mildly, "aggressive" U.S. lockdown response was as good as Korea's and so are our medical S Korea would be an apt comparison

    It would also come to questions our director of the CDC's honesty when he must know our flu mortality rate numbers have tens of millions of extra cases
    thrown in to the calculation when he says that "Corona is 10x more
    deadly than the flu"

    In short the Emperor has no clothes....this "new" Corona virus is really nothing more then the Common Cold...

    No I don't think that the CDC director is "incompentent".....

    Please make every effort to get your fine analysis here out to every media outlet and blog honest enough to take it.....our economic future and many millions of lives and our liberty, what's left of it, is being robbed