Categories
Opinion

Why I’m resigning from the government – Chris Green MP, The Spectator

The Greater Manchester ‘local lockdown’ and the more extreme economic lockdowns have both failed to control the number of positive tests within the Borough of Bolton, which has inexorably risen.

During the lockdown, Bolton has seen 20,000 fewer GP referrals to hospital when compared to last year, while many others have not accessed vital treatment because they have been too frightened to do so. By taking our current approach to Covid-19, we are creating many other health problems that are leading to pain, suffering and death. 

https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/why-i-m-resigning-from-the-government

Categories
Opinion

An epidemic of failure: Test and Trace that doesn’t work, local lockdowns that don’t make sense, flu deaths counted as Covid-19… and an economy on the brink. We somehow made a crisis worse – Dr. John Lee, Daily Mail

  • The UK Government’s Test and Trace policy isn’t working and is worse than useless.
  • 40 per cent of those asked to name their recent contacts were unable to remember anyone.
  • The tests on which Test and Trace is based are highly unreliable.
  • Covid is a coronavirus and its symptoms are vague: a cough, a raised temperature, the loss of taste and smell — all of which overlap with the symptoms for flu and the common cold.
  • When the procedure goes wrong, it generates a ‘false positive’ result: it indicates an infection where none exists.
  • Even with long-established tests, we’d expect to see false positives in perhaps one per cent of cases. With this one, it could quite conceivably be 5 per cent or higher.
  • This means that if 300,000 tests are processed in a day, perhaps 15,000 or more will generate inaccurate reports of Covid-19 infection.
  • One positive is not necessarily the same as another, but the Government numbers don’t differentiate.
  • Last week, it was reported that just 1,800 out of 110,000 occupied beds in hospitals were taken up by Covid-19 patients.
  • It is likely that those who died were elderly and suffering from co-morbidities such as heart disease and diabetes.
  • But it is also possible that they died from something else entirely — such as flu.
  • The UK Government’s Test and Trace policy isn’t working and is worse than useless.
  • 40 per cent of those asked to name their recent contacts were unable to remember anyone.
  • The tests on which Test and Trace is based are highly unreliable.
  • Covid is a coronavirus and its symptoms are vague: a cough, a raised temperature, the loss of taste and smell — all of which overlap with the symptoms for flu and the common cold.
  • When the procedure goes wrong, it generates a ‘false positive’ result: it indicates an infection where none exists.
  • Even with long-established tests, we’d expect to see false positives in perhaps one per cent of cases. With this one, it could quite conceivably be 5 per cent or higher.
  • This means that if 300,000 tests are processed in a day, perhaps 15,000 or more will generate inaccurate reports of Covid-19 infection.
  • One positive is not necessarily the same as another, but the Government numbers don’t differentiate.
  • Last week, it was reported that just 1,800 out of 110,000 occupied beds in hospitals were taken up by Covid-19 patients.
  • It is likely that those who died were elderly and suffering from co-morbidities such as heart disease and diabetes.
  • But it is also possible that they died from something else entirely — such as flu.
  • Coronaviruses are as old as humanity and have resisted every attempt at a vaccine or a cure. One project to wipe out the common cold was funded for more than 40 years — and got nowhere.
  • Today’s flu vaccines are less than 50 per cent effective, and there is no chance whatever that a hurriedly developed Covid-19 vaccine could be anything like as good as that.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-8808609/DR-JOHN-LEE-Test-Trace-doesnt-work-local-lockdowns-dont-make-sense.html

Categories
Opinion

We must learn to live with coronavirus – just like Samuel Pepys lived with the Great Plague

  • Humans have lived with infectious diseases for at least 15,000 years.
  • Until the early 2000s when we started to vaccinate for flu, we accepted that outbreaks would kill 20,000 to 50,000 people every winter without much comment.
  • Self-isolation is not appropriate if you do not share the living conditions of the elites who make the rules – and that the risk does not seem proportionate to the benefits for ordinary people.
  • Face covering, as practised, is irrelevant in most circumstances. The whole country should not be driven by the exceptional circumstances of rush hour in major cities. If most people are currently wearing face coverings, acknowledge that this is because they want to avoid trouble rather than to achieve protection.
  • We will never eradicate the threat from coronaviruses because they are so widespread among animal populations.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-8776423/Coronavirus-UK-learn-live-covid-says-ROBERT-DINGWALL.html

Categories
Opinion

Lies, Damned Lies and Health Statistics – the Deadly Danger of False Positives – Dr. Mike Yeadon

I believe I have identified a serious, really a fatal flaw in the PCR test used in what is called by the UK Government the Pillar 2 screening – that is, testing many people out in their communities. I’m going to go through this with care and in detail because I’m a scientist and dislike where this investigation takes me. 

…In the last 40 years alone the UK has had seven official epidemics/pandemics; AIDS, Swine flu, CJD, SARS, MERS, Bird flu as well as annual, seasonal flu. All were very worrying but schools remained open and the NHS treated everybody and most of the population were unaffected. The country would rarely have been open if it had been shut down every time.

Categories
News

Common colds ‘may account for some reported COVID-19 cases’, PHE survey says – Sky News

Rising cases of the common cold could be giving a false picture of the spread of coronavirus among children.

Public Health England’s weekly coronavirus report shows a rise of almost 23% in rhinovirus infections, which include the common cold, in the last week.

https://news.sky.com/story/coronavirus-common-colds-may-account-for-some-reported-covid-19-cases-phe-survey-says-12075554

Categories
Videos

Dr Mike Yeadon: ‘Government are using a Covid-19 test with undeclared false positive rates.’ – talkRadio

Dr. Mike Yeadon, former Chief Scientific Advisor, Pfizer:

  • The evidence suggests that a substantial number of the positive cases are false positives.
  • The government doesn’t know or is not disclosing the false positive rate.
  • False positive rate may be as high as 1%, which would mean most or all of the positives are false positives.
  • We are finding traces of an ‘old’ virus which can’t possibly make people sick.
  • The test looks for a piece of genetic code. A positive test does not mean someone is sick.
  • ONS says the prevalence of the virus is less than 0.1%.
  • Pillar 2 (community) testing seems to be flawed. Method of processing samples would be inadmissible if this were a forensic case.
  • The number of COVID deaths is continuing to stay low and fallen for 6 months. For it to suddenly increase would need a big change in transmission.
  • Young people would have been the first who caught COVID-19 because they were not social distancing. The idea that the young people are now getting it is “for the birds.”
  • If positive tests are false, they will be distributed evenly in the population. This is what we’re finding.
  • Mass testing is not the answer.
  • Sweden is not doing mass testing and their society has had 0.06% of their population die from COVID-19. This is the same as the UK.
  • We are using a test with an undeclared false-positive rate.
  • Are we re-testing the positives? This is unclear.
  • A second lockdown is going to amplify the non-COVID deaths.
  • UK’s lockdown was too late to prevent the initial spread.
  • Mass population immunity is keeping the deaths low. This is the most reasonable explanation for the differences between the models and reality.

Categories
News Opinion

COVID-19 and the false positive trap – Dr. Clare Craig, The Spectator

Current test results should not be automatically accepted as real

Imagine a world where COVID-19 has been eliminated. To be certain this is true, the government conducts regular tests at random. The number of positive results should be zero, right? Wrong. There will always be a proportion of cases tested that come back with a false positive test result. Thankfully, for COVID-19, the false positive rate is less than one percent of tests done. But it is not zero. It will be impossible for us to ever reach zero. Why? Because COVID-19 cannot be eliminated, even if it is likely to evolve to be more benign and become a seasonal problem like influenza.

https://spectator.us/covid-19-false-positive-trap-seasonal/

Categories
News

Coronavirus: Tests ‘could be picking up dead virus’ – BBC

The main test used to diagnose coronavirus is so sensitive it could be picking up fragments of dead virus from old infections, scientists say.

Most people are infectious only for about a week, but could test positive weeks afterwards.

Researchers say this could be leading to an over-estimate of the current scale of the pandemic.

But some experts say it is uncertain how a reliable test can be produced that doesn’t risk missing cases.

Prof Carl Heneghan, one of the study’s authors, said instead of giving a “yes/no” result based on whether any virus is detected, tests should have a cut-off point so that very small amounts of virus do not trigger a positive result.

He believes the detection of traces of old virus could partly explain why the number of cases is rising while hospital admissions remain stable.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-54000629

Categories
News

Up to 90 per cent of people diagnosed with coronavirus may not be carrying enough of it to infect anyone else, study finds as experts say tests are too sensitive – Daily Mail

Up to 90 percent of people tested for COVID-19 in Massachusetts, New York and Nevada in July carried barely any traces of the virus, a new report says

Experts say it could be because today’s tests are ‘too sensitive’ 

In the US PCR testing is the most widely used diagnostic test for COVID-19 

PCR tests analyze genetic matter from the virus in cycles and today’s tests typically take 37 or 40 cycles

Experts say this is too high because it deems a patient positive even if they have small traces of the virus that are old and no longer contagious

They suggest lowering the number of cycles, which would hone in on people with a higher viral load and who are more contagious 

Today there are 5.9million cases of COVID-19 in the US and there have been more than 182,000 deaths

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8679307/Experts-say-USs-coronavirus-positivity-rate-high-tests-sensitive.html

Categories
News Opinion

Nine out of 10 people in England live in areas that haven’t seen a Covid case in a MONTH and fresh lockdown based on ‘dodgy data’ is not needed, professor says – Daily Mail

Nine out a 10 people in England live in areas that have not seen a Covid-19 case in a month and new lockdowns are not needed, an expert has said.

Professor John Clancy, from Birmingham University, has warned that fears of another shutdown are based on ‘dodgy data.’

Writing in a blog, he said: ”91 per cent of England (that’s 51million people) live in neighbourhoods where there hasn’t been a recorded Covid-19 case in the last 4 weeks.’

He added: ‘So-called ‘spikes’ are occurring here, there, and everywhere up and down the country because new testing regimes are causing them either with false positives, picking up residual infections or (usually more likely) suddenly increased testing in specific areas.’ 

Categories
Publications

Diagnosing COVID-19 infection: the danger of over-reliance on positive test results – medRxiv

Unlike previous epidemics, in addressing COVID-19 nearly all international health organizations and national health ministries have treated a single positive result from a PCR-based test as confirmation of infection, even in asymptomatic persons without any history of exposure. This is based on a widespread belief that positive results in these tests are highly reliable. However, data on PCR-based tests for similar viruses show that PCR-based testing produces enough false positive results to make positive results highly unreliable over a broad range of real-world scenarios. This has clinical and case management implications, and affects an array of epidemiological statistics, including the asymptomatic ratio, prevalence, and hospitalization and death rates. Steps should be taken to raise awareness of false positives, reduce their frequency, and mitigate their effects. In the interim, positive results in asymptomatic individuals that haven’t been confirmed by a second test should be considered suspect.

https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.04.26.20080911v3

Categories
News

The statistical quirk that means the coronavirus pandemic may never officially end – The Telegraph

If you are starting to feel like the coronavirus epidemic will never end, then you may be correct. A statistical quirk in testing means that Britain may never hit zero cases, even if the virus is wiped out entirely.

The reason lies in the large number of false positives that are almost certain to creep in once case numbers drop very low, yet testing remains very high.

Testing is never 100 per cent accurate, and scientists must factor in the false positive and negative rates when determining infection prevalence. The problem is, nobody knows what those rates are.

The best guess at present is that coronavirus tests pick up around 80-85 per cent of positive cases, and around 99.9 per cent of negative cases.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/08/12/statistical-quirk-means-coronavirus-pandemic-may-never-officially/

Categories
Publications

Interpreting a covid-19 test result – BMJ

No test gives a 100% accurate result; tests need to be evaluated to determine their sensitivity and specificity, ideally by comparison with a “gold standard.” The lack of such a clear-cut “gold-standard” for covid-19 testing makes evaluation of test accuracy challenging.

A systematic review of the accuracy of covid-19 tests reported false negative rates of between 2% and 29% (equating to sensitivity of 71-98%), based on negative RT-PCR tests which were positive on repeat testing. The use of repeat RT-PCR testing as gold standard is likely to underestimate the true rate of false negatives, as not all patients in the included studies received repeat testing and those with clinically diagnosed covid-19 were not considered as actually having covid-19.

Further evidence and independent validation of covid-19 tests are needed. As current studies show marked variation and are likely to overestimate sensitivity, we will use the lower end of current estimates from systematic reviews, with the approximate numbers of 70% for sensitivity and 95% for specificity for illustrative purposes.

https://www.bmj.com/content/369/bmj.m1808