3 Pandemic Facts The Nutjobs Got Right

For the last two years, there’s been a globally concerted, gross campaign of misinformation regarding the facts around the COVID pandemic. You’ve probably heard some of these “antivax lies” from your distant family members or from (now former) friends.

The government, the legacy media, and mainstream social media platforms would have you believe that these conspiratorial nutjobs are the ones responsible for all of the deaths attributed to COVID. They’re the ones responsible for why you still can’t visit your grandparents in the assisted living center, why little children are dropping dead everywhere, and why this winter will be a winter of “severe illness and death” per the inspiring words of our fearless commander-in-chief.

By reading fringe websites and uncensored social media platforms, refusing to wear a mask, refusing to get vaxxed, or, worse, sharing anecdotal evidence of their own vaccine injuries, these people have become the worst kind of genocidal fascists: Republicans, who dare to value liberty and objective reality over authoritarianism and emotional manipulation.

Here are three things we’re now all acknowledging that the nutjobs got right….

PCR Tests are Inaccurate

You might remember this one from early in the pandemic, or from Dr. Mercola’s book The Truth About COVID-19, which U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren tried to get banned. Note: the U.S. Constitution explicitly protects freedom of speech from government censorship.

On December 29th, 2021, CDC Director Walensky went on Good Morning America to discuss changes in the CDC guidelines for testing and quarantining. She noted:

“The PCR tests after infection can be positive for up to twelve weeks, so that is not going to be helpful. You’re not going to be transmitting during all of that period of time. We’ve seen that in study after study.”

In essence, we have a global workforce which has been using these PCR tests to determine who can work or whether or not entire businesses need to shutdown and quarantine. I have family members who have been mandated to take these tests multiple times. I know businesses which have closed down and suffered a lapse in public trust after employees tested positive through these tests.

The number of infections indicated by these tests have been used to inform public policy, and contribute to the infection numbers we’ve all seen for the last two years when we turn on the television or log-in to social media. And, as it turns out, the CDC just last week got around to telling us that “study after study” has shown these tests can actually result positive three months  after infection.

In Dr. Mercola’s book which I mentioned above, he adds another dynamic to this issue. He talks about the cycling used to analyze PCR tests. Lest he seem like too fringe a source for discerning minds to consider, The Lancet  told us something similar back in March of 2021:

“PCR seeks the genetic code of the virus from nose or throat swabs and amplifies it over 30–40 cycles, doubling each cycle, enabling even miniscule, potentially single, copies to be detected. PCR is thus a powerful clinical test, specifically when a patient is, or was recently, infected with SARS-CoV-2. Fragments of RNA can linger for weeks after infectious virus has been cleared, often in people without symptoms or known exposures.

However, for public health measures, another approach is needed. Testing to help slow the spread of SARS-CoV-2 asks not whether someone has RNA in their nose from earlier infection, but whether they are infectious today. It is a net loss to the health, social, and economic wellbeing of communities if post-infectious individuals test positive and isolate for 10 days. In our view, current PCR testing is therefore not the appropriate gold standard for evaluating a SARS-CoV-2 public health test.

[…]. The short window of transmissibility contrasts with a median 22–33 days of PCR positivity (longer with severe infections and somewhat shorter among asymptomatic individuals). This suggests that 50–75% of the time an individual is PCR positive, they are likely to be post-infectious.”

So, the fuller picture here is that the testing mechanism we’ve been using to generate the numbers that justify lockdowns, forced economic shutdowns, harassing children, feeling heroic for assaulting old men on airplanes, and countless other social and economic shifts in our society over the last two years is accurately identifying active, positive cases around 25% of the time.

In other words, we’ve been shutting down the world and “tracking” viral spread based on data that 75% of the time is only identifying people who may have had COVID (or the flu–whoops!) at some point in the last three months. Let’s hope the statistics that led to the vaccines being deemed “safe and effective” fare better over time.

Cloth Masks Don’t Work

This was another early truth suppressed at the start of the pandemic shutdown when “Shut up and wear a stupid mask, you selfish idiot!” replaced any dialogue around scientific evidence regarding how the virus is spread.

Cloth masks don’t prevent transmission. As CNN medical analyst Dr. Leana Wenn told the network’s audience on Monday, December 20th, 2021, “Cloth masks are little more than facial decorations.” Like the nutjobs have been saying for almost two years now, it’s like trying to keep a bumblebee out with chicken wire.

Study after study after study after study after study after study after study after study after study after study after study including a meta-analysis by the CDC in May of 2020 showed us this already.

One study noted:

“Airborne simulation experiments showed that cotton masks, surgical masks, and N95 masks provide some protection from the transmission of infective SARS-CoV-2 droplets/aerosols; however, medical masks (surgical masks and even N95 masks) could not completely block the transmission of virus droplets/aerosols even when sealed.”

Another:

“Neither mask type completely prevents transmission […].”

In practical experience we saw this data too. North and South Dakota suffered near-identical case numbers despite masks being mandated only in North Dakota. And in Kansas, not only were mask mandates shown ineffective at lowering infection rates, but counties with mask mandates actually fared worse than counties without them. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment even tried to hide this data.

Somehow we reached a point where The Science™ around masking transcended actual science, and masks became about virtue signaling and identifying ideological dissenters instead of preventing the spread of a virus.

“I’m not about to look like a Republican,” the Boston Globe reported some users of TikTok and Twitter posting in response to the CDC changing mask guidelines for vaccinated people last summer.

And then, to further confuse matters, at the time of writing, the CDC’s website still includes cloth masks on their mask guide page, and discourages using N95 masks which “should be prioritized for healthcare personnel.”

Lost yet? That’s because none of the information makes sense together. CNN’s medical analyst is telling us that cloth masks don’t stop transmission (this is backed by the studies cited above), but that “surgical” masks are more appropriate (which is the opposite of what the CDC recommends). The CDC is telling us both that cloth masks don’t stop transmission (per the meta-analysis cited above), but  that we ought to wear one anyway and  not wear an N95 mask (per their mask recommendations page).

Masks have been turned into a politicized and socially divisive issue, an easy way to identify who is ideologically aligned to what belief system. That change–the emotional charge that comes from this issue–is the only clear thing happening here.

Nothing else is coherent from study to policy or recommendation.

Hospitalization Numbers are Misleading

Per Dr. Fauci just a couple days ago on MSNBC on December 31st, 2021:

“Many [U.S. children] are hospitalized with COVID as opposed to because of COVID. And what we mean by that, if a child goes in the hospital, they automatically get tested for COVID, and they get counted as a COVID-hospitalized individual, when in fact they may go in for a broken leg, or appendicitis, or something like that. So it’s over-counting the number of children who are hospitalized with COVID as opposed to because of COVID.”

This underscores a pivot adopted by the White House earlier in the week when Dr. Fauci presented the same information at a press briefing:

“Just a word about children: Certainly, more children are being infected with the highly transmissible virus, and with that, there naturally will be more hospitalizations in children.

It is noteworthy, however, that many children are hospitalized with COVID as opposed to because of COVID, reflecting the high degree of penetrance of infection among the pediatric population.”

Stating these exact things, that is, accurately observing that the media and public health officials of this country have been reporting inflated numbers which are unable to distinguish between patients with  COVID or dying from  COVID (or, for that matter, based on testing mechanisms unable to distinguish between COVID and the flu), and criticizing policy determined on the basis of these skewed numbers, has been enough to get you labeled an anti-vaxx, science denying, selfish, fascist nutjob  for going on two years now.

It would be hilarious if it weren’t so consequential to our actual lives. …if relationships weren’t being thrown out the window because of this information. …if people weren’t being pressured out of their jobs because of mandates built on the basis of faulty data. …if people weren’t being pressured into medical treatments built on a risk assessment derived from faulty data.

In essence, in the last week, the Biden Administration and legacy media have announced that the singular pandemic narrative we’ve been permitted to consider factual is in all actuality built on a house of cards–how is there not rioting in the streets? 

What accountability will public health officials or the media face for exaggerating the threat of this virus? Who will face consequences for creating this heightened sense of collective fear over something which MSNBC now says is comparable to the common flu? Will social media platforms be reinstating the permanently banned accounts of people who called attention to these lies months ago?

It’s Not What We Mistakingly Believed, It’s How We Respond Now

Whether you previously believed any of the above facts were true or not isn’t the point. Truth isn’t a race to see who gets there first, or who held on the longest. The point is that people talking about these positions, and debating them with evidence for either hypothesis, were censored (2, 3, 4) out of the public conversation by the social media platforms where these conversations were taking place. Furthermore, the legacy media rarely presented multiple sides to these positions, and even scientific journals seem to be engaged in this kind of narrative-streamlining censorship as well.

Together, that means our society was subjected to a nearly two year propaganda campaign where one official narrative was repeated and selectively made available to the public. And at least three components of that campaign are now understood to be false.

What else have you been prevented from encountering either on social media or through legacy media networks? Where else are you being lied to or misinformed?

What is being accomplished (and by whom) as a result of widespread belief in these lies?

If the mechanisms for enumerating infections and tracking hospitalization are faulty, and if the preventative measure we’ve been trained to use is unbacked by science, what is the big picture going on here? What or who are we supposed to believe about vaccine safety? Or about COVID’s origins?

When we’re talking about decisions that took away livelihoods through mandates or shutdowns, caused death and other injuries (for which the manufacturer is shielded from liability), and even still determine whether you can participate in society either digitally or physically–these questions matter.

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