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Opinion: COVID-19 cases aren’t giving us a good picture of who’s contagious
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LPN Amanda McDaniel, of Northeast Georgia Physicians Group Urgent Care Gainesville, prepares to use a COVID-19 test Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020, at Cherokee Bluff High School for any voluntary, asymptomatic student and school employee. - photo by Scott Rogers

Have you wondered, with COVID-19 cases skyrocketing, why deaths and hospitalizations are going down? And why so many cases asymptomatic? With little fanfare the New York Times released an article that changes everything: “Your Coronavirus Test Is Positive. Maybe It Shouldn’t Be” by Apoorva Mandavilli, Aug. 29, 2020. Referring to the percentage of false positives, Mandavilli reports, “Other experts informed of these numbers were stunned.”

False positives like Republican governor of Ohio Mike DeWine seem to be popping up everywhere. Would you believe 70% to 90% of all COVID-19 cases are false, i.e. they are not infectious or contagious to others? Impossible! Think of the implications. Millions falsely quarantined, jobs lost, churches and schools closed, sporting seasons canceled, the U.S. economy devastated. Suicides, depression and a constant battering by a media so anxious to keep Donald Trump from being re-elected.  It’s the Trump virus, remember? Will someone please ask Dr. Fauci why all our policy has been based on 90% false positives? 

According to the New York Times, the standard coronavirus test, PCR, “vastly amplifies” genetic material to look for any trace of COVID-19 DNA. It is so sensitive because it uses a cycle threshold of 40 to claim a positive result. According to the CDC, “it is extremely difficult to detect any live virus above a threshold of 33.” Dr. Michael Mina, a Harvard epidemiologist, said he would set the threshold at 30 or even less. “In a Massachusetts database that recorded CT thresholds, 85% to 90% of people who tested positive would have been deemed negative at 30 cycles.” 

“I’m really shocked that it could be that high,” said Dr. Ashish Jha, director of Harvard Global Health Institute, in the NYT article. “Boy, does it really change the way we need to be thinking about testing.” 

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

A cycle threshold of 40 is so sensitive that people testing positive either have no virus at all or a viral load so small they are not contagious. Of the 45,604 COVID-19 cases reported on a Thursday, perhaps only 4,500 need to isolate and submit to contact tracing, the NYT reported. What? Now extrapolate backward: 6,000,000 cases reported in the U.S. should be 600,000. 

But what about deaths? People are dying! The CDC recently disclosed only 6% of all deaths are caused by COVID-19 alone. The other 94% involve an average of 2.6 comorbidities. Many were never tested but assumed coronavirus (per CDC policy), and the rest underwent PCR testing. Pneumonia or coronavirus? You tell me. 

Joe Biden recently said he will rely on the “science” to shut down the country. Would that be the 90% false positive science? How long will it take the mainstream media to inform the public of this bombshell? I expect it will be big, front-page news somewhere around Nov. 4. 

Steve Ward 

Gainesville 

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