Photo by Simon Infanger on Unsplash

Why Following COVID-19 Science is Like Chasing a Rabbit

I’m not a flat-earther but I have now reached a point in this COVID-19 madness where I now believe I need a plausible conspiracy theory to explain to me what exactly is going on. Don’t get me wrong. I am not an avid connoisseur of conspiracy theories. I don’t believe that the earth is flat neither do I believe that 9/11 was planned by George Bush. But with this COVID-19 madness, almost everything does not make sense. If you look at scientific pronouncements, there are so many about-turns.

I am also not a virologist by the way. I teach Accounting and Finance. Normally I wouldn’t insert myself into someone else’s domain… but they sure are inserting themselves into mine, into my job, my church, my health, my kids, my travel and my freedom. So I hope they’ll forgive me if I check into their science, their logic and their motives.

If anything, science is a public good. It doesn’t need to be followed blindly, but it does need to be fairly considered.

Right off the bat, I believe that COVID-19 is real. I think there is a foul virus that has tainted the air this year and that this novel virus is the cause of some deaths globally. Whether these deaths are of a significant number will be known with precision later on. But even so, a single death is one too many.

So what is my beef?

The response.

I’ve got almost nothing to say in support of government response.

Masks

Look at the issue of masks. The virus struck early in the year. At that time, WHO, CDC and other health agencies strongly warned against the use of masks. A few days later, they changed tune.

What prompted the sudden change of tune? Was it some earth-shaking study? I mean there has to be a major basis for a shift in strategy especially if that strategy is going to define how people socialize, go to school or even breathe. It can’t just be intuition. You can’t just wake up and distance yourself from your earlier stand. Then what was the basis for the earlier decision? Are you admitting criminal negligence when you gave that earlier guideline?

For sure, I have found studies that appear to be in support of masks. However, the majority of randomized control trials are decidedly positive that they offer no benefit at all.

A Tale of Two Cities

Charles Dickens, at the turn of the 19th century wrote a novel called A Tale of Two Cities. Both Peru and Taiwan are serious mask-wearers. But if you look at the data, the rate of COVID-19 infection in Peru is near astronomical while that of Taiwan is negligible. I hear someone saying that there could be other variables like demographics and obesity rates. Yes, that is very correct. And that is why randomized control trial (RCT), should settle the issue. This is because in randomized control trials the other possible variables are controlled so that any difference can be attributed with precision to only one cause.

One major Danish study is still fresh from the oven and its major finding is that masks offer no protection. It was a randomized control trial. Probably the first of its kind post-COVID.

The Spanish Flu

I love history and there is something about mask use in the past. In 1918, there was the now famous Spanish Flu, many times more deadly than COVID-19. People wore masks. They were very useless. In 1918, the then chair of California department of health, a Dr. Kellogg published a definitive study to settle the mask controversy. Masks were unmasked. It is now evident that the controversy was not settled.

Masks may not just be ineffective

Someone could endure the use of masks if the only contention was that they are ineffective. However, there are studies that now show that masks are not only ineffective but that they could even be harmful. Masks have been found to harbor vast colonies of bacteria. Remember that with COVID-19, a bacterial infection is the one thing you would want to avoid. Pneumonia, caused by a bacteria has been mentioned as a significant cause of death among COVID-19 patients. You may avoid a virus but get a dangerous bacterial infection. This gets really dire when you remember that a significant segment of the population, especially in rural areas, can use one mask for one month.

In fact, in the Danish study highlighted above, the number of those who were infected with diseases caused by bacteria and other respiratory disease vectors were higher in those who wore masks than in those who were mask- less.

To add to that, diseases have what I want to call ‘infection dosage’. The infection dosage of SARS-COV-2 is not yet known. It could be that when you inhale a tiny amount of the infected aerosol you may not be infected. However, with masks, infection could become a breeze. This is because the mask is a reservoir that will ensure that you accumulate the viral load in sufficient dosage capable of infection. That is why going forward, avoiding mask wearers could actually be a feasible public health advisory.

The Hamburg Environmental Institute warned of the inhalation of chlorine compounds in polyester masks as well as problems in connection with face mask disposal. In April, a New Jersey driver crashed head-on into a pole — after passing out from wearing an N95 mask for hours.

During the month of April, three cases of students suffering sudden cardiac death (SCD) while running during gym class were reported. It is no coincidence that all the three students were wearing masks at the time of their deaths igniting a critical discussion over school rules on when students should wear masks in China.

Another About-turn

But there was another about-turn with regard to masks. In April of this year we were told that masks mitigates against spread of virus but does not protect the wearer. In short, you protect others, even though you do not protect yourself. In November, we are now told that masks can also protect the wearer. I mean masks are not a recently patented innovation. The world has been using masks for eons. Why is it that the science on masks is flip-flopping and changing like the weather which is cloudy in the morning and sunny in the afternoon?

But there is something even more worrying.

Was mask use adopted because of lobbying?

Debora Cohen, a BBC Correspondent intimated that she had information to the effect that the use of masks was adopted by the WHO, not because of their effectiveness but because of ‘lobbying’. We don’t know whether this is true. But we know it is possible. This is a BBC Correspondent, not a Kass FM reporter.

Mass Testing

Then look at mass testing. Here again we find WHO brazenly contradicting its earlier guidelines, an about-turn of sorts. In late 2019, WHO issued a guideline which was stipulating government response in situations of flu-like pandemics. In that guideline, WHO advised against mass testing. The evidence was that it was ineffective as a public health strategy. Probably meaningless. Did it stick by it? No, it was thrown out of the window and discarded into the trash can as if no scientific work had gone into developing it. Was there any earth-shaking discovery? The answer is blowing in the wind.

PCR Testing

Then look at what they recommended: PCR testing.

You have probably heard that a positive PCR test does not always mean that someone is infected or infectious. So I checked whether that is really true. I had to dig deeper than just the lab result. I found that there is something called Cycle Threshold. It is like an amplification sequence. For instance, if you run a sample on a PCR and the sample does not return positive after only one run then you run it again. This second run is more amplified. What this means is that if Jade gets a positive PCR test after a cycle threshold of only 5 runs while Jane gets a positive PCR test only after a whopping 20 runs, then to use layman language, Jade is more sick than Jane.

But let me now blow your mind.

You can have a positive COVID-19 PCR test and yet you don’t have one, single COVID-19 virus.

Cycle Threshold

This is how it happens. Labs can run even 45 cycle thresholds. I have information that our CDC labs run cycle threshold of up to 40. From what I read however, it seems impossible to culture a virus beyond 35 PCR cycle thresholds. This is a fact that is acknowledged by both CDC and the controversially famous Dr. Fauci. Beyond 30 cycle threshold, the test now scans for genetic fragments having failed to sight any live virus. The problem here is that the genetic fragments seen could be that of a similar virus and not necessarily an identical virus. Remember there are many corona viruses and SARS-COV-2 is just but one of them. I found out that this PCR testing for COVID is like looking for a house and identifying an isolated nail or an abandoned iron-sheet as a house. Especially is this true of higher cycle thresholds.

Dr. Fauci, in a July video transcript acknowledged that, “if somebody does come in with 37, 38, even 36, you got to say, you know, it’s just dead nucleotides, period.” Why is this information not readily available to the general public? What, pray, explains the government fixation with positive results and not analysis of cycle thresholds of those results?

But that is not all.

A genetic material can also mean that you got COVID-19, your body fought it and you recovered. So technically, you are immune. A positive result is certainly not definitive.

But wait a minute. If you want to know how to use a product, you read the product insert, right?

PCR Insert

Now, if you look at the PCR manufacturer’s insert, there is a guideline and advisory on how to interpret a positive result. According to the insert, a positive result may not mean infection with a particular pathogen but may be because of ‘other’ bacteria and parasites. The manufacturer goes on to say that a positive lab result is not conclusive in diagnosis. There has to be clinical diagnosis as well.

But the WHO brazenly ignores even the manufacturer’s guidelines. According to WHO advisory, a positive lab result is conclusive of infection without any clinical diagnosis. It is like an association of vehicle owners saying that a Toyota gear box is incredibly fine while Toyota Company is advising caution.

It does not end there. Just like the case of masks, there is another unbelievable about-turn.

WHO Guidelines For Similar Corona Viruses

I have had a chance to look at WHO guidelines with respect to previous corona viruses. These include SARS, MERS and the like. For Mers, The WHO recommended that PCR ‘testing should be limited to persons with specified symptoms and, in most cases, elevated risk of exposure’.

For Ebola, WHO stipulated that ‘case confirmation requires specific clinical signs in addition to a single positive PCR test’.

For Zika virus, WHO again stipulated that ‘testing is recommended only for symptomatic cases’.

But for COVID-19, WHO now says that a positive case is ‘a person with laboratory confirmation of COVID-19 infection, irrespective of clinical signs and symptoms. The million-dollar question is, why did WHO make an about-turn yet this is a similar virus?

PCR: Only 10% of Positive Cases Infectious

In an evaluation of PCR positive cases in three states in the U.S based on cycle thresholds, it was found that only 10% of those who had been identified as positive cases were actually infected or infectious; just 4,500 for about 45,604 positive cases. Let me put this in perspective: this study found that up to 90 percent of people testing positive carried barely any virus, certainly nothing infectious at all! Why is it that governments appear rigidly keen on ignoring evidence against the use of PCR?

PCR Declared Illegal

But all is not dark and blue. In one court-room in Portugal, there was a land-mark ruling last week. The court ruled that PCR tests are unreliable and cannot be used as the basis of mass testing and isolation. Some light for sure, though the darkness be deep and dreary. The court found that the PCR test “is unable to determine, beyond reasonable doubt, that such positivity result corresponds, in fact, to the infection of a person by the SARS-CoV-2 virus”, said the Lisbon Court of Appeal.

Now put your thinking caps on. Why are we isolating healthy people and quarantining them on the basis of a questionable test?

Witness another amazing about-turn.

Do Asymptomatic People Spread COVID-19?

In January of this year, Dr. Anthony Fauci stated with bullish confidence that ‘In all the history of respiratory-borne viruses of any type, asymptomatic transmission has never been the driver of outbreaks.” Today, he is singing a totally different tune. What was the basis of his earlier statement?

Irregardless, as Kenyans would say, there is a massive study done in Wuhan, also still fresh like a cucumber, investigating whether there are instances of asymptomatic transmission of COVID-19. After analyzing contacts of asymptomatic cases, there were no positive tests amongst 1,174 close contacts of asymptomatic cases. This study is not the only one. It seems it has always been known that cases of asymptomatic transmission is almost negligible, if at all present.

If this is true as it definitely looks like, why are children out of school? I am mad about this because my grade six niece has become pregnant at home. Her life is shattered. Her future bleak. And she is not alone. With closure of schools, teenage pregnancies soared. I’m sure many girls got married off. They will never come to school again. Could this have been avoided. Did we rely on solid evidence to make these decisions? The earlier closure of schools may be forgiven but what of now? Why are kids still not in schools? Can’t we concentrate on just isolating and treating those who were actually sick?

Even more comical is the use of thermo-guns. Where do we get the courage to be this stupid?

Data Quality

Then look at our data quality. The minister comes and gives us the daily diet of COVID-19 cases and deaths. And that is all!

The media do not ask probing questions. No delving deeper even by an inch! These meaningless statistics are broadcasted as breaking news. Yet we can get so much more from this data.

For instance, of those who succumbed to COVID-19, how many died of COVID-19 and how many died with COVID-19? Of those who had co-morbidities what was the spread of the diseases that made up the data. What was the percentage of those who succumbed due to diabetes? What was the percentage of those who succumbed due to cardiovascular issues?

This is very important and incredibly useful because we now know that many who succumb to COVID-19 have underlying issues. It would be very interesting to know the comparative danger of these different underlying issues. This is how you help those with underlying issues. This is how you forge an informed response strategy.

Apart from that, we are told that Nairobi is the epicenter based on the absolute number of positive cases. But does this even make sense? Why can’t we be told about the number of those who were tested in Meru against those who turned positive there? If 90% of your tests are done in Nairobi then off course Nairobi will lead with positive cases!

It seems no evidence will change government strategy except a vaccine. We dismissed Tanzania. We said it is a shit-hole country. It does not have data. But what about Sweden? In conventional scientific circles, it is like a scar that reminds us of our ugliness. Could it be because Sweden can expose the scientific pretensions of our response strategy? Again, like Bob Dylan would say, the answer is blowing in the wind.

Antibody Tests

Then there was antibody testing that shows whether somebody has been infected with COVID-19 and has therefore developed subsequent immunity as evidenced by the presence of relevant antibodies. The tests were done. As expected, community infection was widespread. I thought it was a time to celebrate because probably the virus had run its course and conferred immunity. But WHO issued a quick warning and a ready disclaimer: the presence of antibodies does not mean immunity. Now this is where I scratched my head because, since the days of Jenner and small pox, the presence of antibodies has always been the basis of vaccine immunity.

Now we are promoting vaccines as the solution to COVID-19. Yet the effectiveness of these vaccines depends on their capacity to generate antibodies. Why then do we reject antibodies generated naturally by the disease but we are quick to accept antibodies generated by a vaccine?

We, lay people are incessantly told to follow the science. But following the science of COVID-19 is like chasing a rabbit. Facts, we are told, are stubborn. However, COVID-19 facts have been disturbingly fluid throughout. That is why I need COVID-19 theories because there are no solid facts anymore. I want a plausible conspiracy theory that can explain COVID-19. I am tired of the flip-flopping and the about-turns. If you find one, email me at: jeffoganga@gmail.com

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