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“Dead” Virus Cells Frequently Trigger “False Positives” In Most Common COVID Test, New Study Finds

"Dead" Virus Cells Frequently Trigger "False Positives" In Most Common COVID Test, New Study Finds

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"Dead" Virus Cells Frequently Trigger "False Positives" In Most Common COVID Test, New Study Finds Tyler Durden Sat, 09/05/2020 - 21:20

In the past, our reports raising questions about the accuracy of COVID-19 tests have been met with accusations of 'fearmongering' and spreading 'misinformation'. 

But not today.

That's because new research from the University of Oxford’s Center for Evidence-Based Medicine and the University of the West of England has found that the swab-based technique used for most COVID-19 testing is at risk of returning "false positives" since copies of the virus's RNA detected by the tests might simply be dead, inactive material from a weeks-old infection. Although patients infected with COVID-19 are typically only infectious for a week or less, tests can be triggered by virus genetic material left over from a weeks-old infection.

The team's research involved analyzing 25 studies on the widely used polymerase chain reaction test. PCR tests use material collected with a swab - the most common type of test around the world, and especially in the US - then utilize a "genetic photocopying" technique that allows scientists to magnify the small sample of genetic material collected, which they can then analyze for signs of viral RNA.

What the researchers here have effectively found is that these PCR tests just aren't sensitive enough to distinguish if the viral material is active and infectious, or dead and inert.

For those who desire a more comprehensive understanding of how these tests work, the chart below can be helpful.

Professor Carl Heneghan, one of the authors of the study, said there was a risk that a surge in testing across the UK was increasing the risk of this sample contamination occurring and it may explain why the number of Covid-19 cases is rising but the number of deaths is static.

"Evidence is mounting that a good proportion of ‘new’ mild cases and people re-testing positives after quarantine or discharge from hospital are not infectious, but are simply clearing harmless virus particles which their immune system has efficiently dealt with," he told the Spectator.

Professor Heneghan added that international scrutiny might be required to avoid "the dangers of isolating non-infectious people or whole communities."

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74% Of COVID-19 Cases From Massachusetts Outbreak Occurred In Fully Vaccinated People: CDC

74% Of COVID-19 Cases From Massachusetts Outbreak Occurred In Fully Vaccinated People: CDC

Authored by Zachary Steiber via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

A COVID-19 outbreak in a Massachusetts county in July primarily occurred among vaccin

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74% Of COVID-19 Cases From Massachusetts Outbreak Occurred In Fully Vaccinated People: CDC

Authored by Zachary Steiber via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

A COVID-19 outbreak in a Massachusetts county in July primarily occurred among vaccinated people, sparking fears that a variant of the CCP virus can impact that population more than other strains.

Of the 469 cases detected in Barnstable County, 74 percent occurred among the fully vaccinated, according to a new study published on Friday.

Genomic sequencing of 133 patients showed most of them were infected with the Delta variant of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.

The bulk of the infected people did not require hospital care, but among the five that did, four were fully vaccinated.

The study, published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), helped drive agency officials to change masking guidance.

CDC officials announced Tuesday that even vaccinated persons should wear masks indoors, an abrupt shift from under three months ago.

The CDC was unable to point to any published data at the time of its announcement, though an internal document leaked Thursday pointed to some published studies, as well as what was at the time unpublished data from Massachusetts.

The agency recommended that both the vaccinated and unvaccinated should don face coverings indoors in areas with high or substantial transmission of the CCP virus. More than half the counties in America meet one of those designations.

[ZH: And as Bloomberg notes, the CDC scaled back their hunt for breakthrough cases just as Delta emerged.

While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stopped comprehensively tracking what are known as vaccine breakthrough cases in May, the consequences of that choice are only now beginning to show.

At the time, the agency had identified only 10,262 cases across the U.S. where a fully vaccinated person had tested positive for Covid. Most people who got infected after vaccination showed few symptoms, and appeared to be at low risk of infecting others. 

But in the months since, the number of vaccine breakthrough cases has grown, as has the risk that they present. And while the CDC has stopped tracking such cases, many states have not. Bloomberg gathered data from 35 states and identified 111,748 vaccine breakthrough cases through the end of July, more than 10 times the CDC’s end-of-April tally.]

Researchers, though, said their investigation suggests people in any area should wear masks inside.

“Findings from this investigation suggest that even jurisdictions without substantial or high COVID-19 transmission might consider expanding prevention strategies, including masking in indoor public settings regardless of vaccination status, given the potential risk of infection during attendance at large public gatherings that include travelers from many areas with differing levels of transmission,” they wrote.

Some of the researchers are CDC officials. Others are with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, which declined to facilitate an interview on the findings.

The cases in Barnstable County stemmed from summer events and large public gatherings held between July 3 and July 17, the researchers said in the study.

A graph from a new study published by the CDC shows that many of the COVID-19 cases linked to an outbreak in Barnstable County, Massachusetts, this month were among vaccinated people. (CDC)

The events attracted thousands of tourists to the area.

The average of COVID-19 cases in the county rose sharply from July 3 to July 17.

Using travel history from the state’s COVID-19 surveillance system, officials identified a cluster of cases among Massachusetts residents. Additional cases were pinpointed by local health officials.

The cluster cases were defined by a positive COVID-19 test within 14 days of travel or residence in Barnstable County since July 3.

By July 26, 469 COVID-19 cases were identified among state residents, with dates of positive specimens ranging from July 6 to July 25.

Researchers found that the bulk were fully vaccinated, a term that refers to people who have gotten two Moderna or Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines, or the single-shot Johnson & Johnson jab.

Initial data—chain reaction cycle threshold values from some of the specimens—indicate that the viral load of the vaccinated and unvaccinated cases are similar, researchers said. However, they said microbiological studies are required to confirm those findings.

Further, the Infectious Disease Society of America and the Association for Molecular Pathology earlier this year said that such values “should not be considered quantitative measures of viral load.”

Still, the findings were among those used by the CDC to justify the sudden shift this week. Where before vaccinated people were told they did not need to wear a mask anywhere, they are now being told to don a face covering inside.

The data demonstrate “that Delta infection resulted in similarly high SARS-CoV-2 viral loads in vaccinated and unvaccinated people,” Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the CDC’s director, said in a statement on Friday.

High viral loads suggest an increased risk of transmission and raised concern that, unlike with other variants, vaccinated people infected with Delta can transmit the virus. This finding is concerning and was a pivotal discovery leading to CDC’s updated mask recommendation.”

The recommendation is not binding but the CDC’s advice is widely adopted by counties, states, and businesses.

The rise in cases in Provincetown, part of Barnstable County, prompted town officials earlier this week to adopt an indoor mask mandate.

The mandate will shift to an advisory when the daily positive testing rate stays below 3 percent for at least five days, according to Town Manager Alex Morse.

While vaccinated people must wear masks inside, unvaccinated people, including children under the age of 12, must wear face coverings in outdoor crowded areas as well as indoors.

As of July 29, 882 cases were linked to the Barnstable County cluster, 531 of whom are state residents. The percentage of breakthrough cases remained at 74 percent.

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber
Follow Zachary on Parler: @zackstieber
Tyler Durden Fri, 07/30/2021 - 17:11

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Have The Social Media Companies Become Way Too Powerful?

Have The Social Media Companies Become Way Too Powerful?

Authored by Michael Snyder via TheMostImportantNews.com,

Do you remember the early days of the Internet?  It was like “the wild west”, and that could be bad, but in many ways…

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Have The Social Media Companies Become Way Too Powerful?

Authored by Michael Snyder via TheMostImportantNews.com,

Do you remember the early days of the Internet?  It was like “the wild west”, and that could be bad, but in many ways it was also very good.  The Internet was very decentralized at that time, and information could flow very freely.  For the very first time, ordinary people could communicate with others all over the globe on a massive scale, and I believe that was an incredibly positive development for humanity.  Unfortunately, the elite were absolutely horrified by this free flow of information and they became obsessed with restricting it.  Today, highly advanced algorithms have been designed to shape our behavior online.  We are increasingly being funneled to just a handful of immensely powerful corporate-owned websites, and information on those sites is heavily monitored, controlled and censored.

In particular, the largest “social media websites” have undergone a radical transformation over the past several years.  At one time, if you had something interesting to say it was fairly easy to get something to go viral.  But now the largest social media websites systematically suppress certain groups, viewpoints and belief systems.  If you are opposed to the dominant narratives that they are trying to push, it is going to be exceedingly difficult for you to get much traction online.

Of course if you get frustrated with the extreme levels of censorship, you could always seek out other social media sites where the censorship is lighter.

But the largest social media websites are where all the people are.  As far as total Internet traffic is concerned, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Reddit are all in the top 10.

I would consider Wikipedia to be a social media website too, and it is in the top 10 as well.

This gives the largest social media companies an extraordinary amount of influence over how people view the world, and one recent survey found that the vast majority of Americans believe that they have too much power…

While most Republicans and Democrats believe social media companies wield too much power, Republicans are more likely to hold this view, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.

A whopping 82 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents think social media companies have too much power and influence in politics, compared with 63 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, the survey said.

But even though we believe that they have too much power, we just keep going back.

In fact, most of us are deeply addicted.

One recent poll discovered that 73 percent of British adults “can’t even imagine going a full 24 hours without at least one screen to stare at”…

From computers and tablets to smartphones and TV sets, nowadays most people’s days consist of staring at one screen and then moving on to the next. As such, a recent poll of 2,000 British adults reports a whopping 73 percent can’t even imagine going a full 24 hours without at least one screen to stare at.

What about you?

Could you go a full day without the Internet?

The same poll found that adults are spending approximately six hours a day “in front of screens”

How glued are we to our devices exactly? On average, researchers report adults spend about six hours daily in front of screens.

We are only awake for about 16 hours a day.

Needless to say, if you allow anyone to pump six hours of “programming” into your mind each day, it is going to radically alter how you view the world.

In addition to frying our minds, being addicted to the Internet can also have physical consequences.  For example, a different study found a direct link between Internet addiction and sleep problems in young people…

More evidence suggests the severity of internet addiction (IA) is directly related to the severity of sleep problems in youth.

Results from a study of more than 4000 adolescent students show IA severity was linked to less sleep and to daytime sleepiness. In addition, boys aged 12-14 years who were addicted to computer games vs social media networking were the most affected.

Experts have found that the Internet can even make you sick.  Medical professionals are telling us that some people can actually develop “cybersickness” if they use the Internet too much…

Cybersickness refers to a cluster of symptoms that occur in the absence of physical motion, similar to motion sickness. These symptoms fall into three categories: nausea, oculomotor issues and general disorientation. Oculomotor symptoms, like eye strain, fatigue and headaches, involve overworking the nerve that controls eye movement. Disorientation can manifest as dizziness and vertigo. And several cybersickness symptoms, such as difficulty concentrating and blurred vision, overlap categories. These issues can persist for hours and affect sleep quality.

So it is important to be careful.

As with so many other things in life, moderation is the key.

Without a doubt, there is still so much about the Internet that is very positive.  Personally, I have been using it to relentlessly share the truth for more than a decade.  The Internet has allowed me to touch millions upon millions of people all over the globe, and I am always encouraged when readers email me from the other side of the planet.

We should always remember that the Internet is simply a tool.

It can be used for great good, but it can also be used for great evil.

And right now, the elite are ruthlessly clamping down on free speech so that they can impose their “values” on everyone else.

They say that they are protecting us by restricting the flow of “disinformation”, but way too often they are the ones that are spreading “disinformation”.

For example, Joe Biden was accused of spreading disinformation about the COVID pandemic during his recent town hall on CNN.

Newsweek looked into that claim, and they rated it to be true…

True. Joe Biden spread misinformation about COVID vaccines at a CNN town hall on Wednesday.

It is not true that people vaccinated against COVID will not get the disease, be hospitalized, end up in an ICU, or die because of it.

So does this mean that we should censor Joe Biden’s speech and ban him from all social media platforms?

No.

I believe that everyone should be allowed to speak, because that is what our founders would have wanted.

Unfortunately, freedom of speech on the Internet is nearly dead, and with each passing day there are even more calls for stricter censorship.

These are very dark days, and they are getting darker all the time.

*  *  *

It is finally here! Michael’s new book entitled “7 Year Apocalypse” is now available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.

Tyler Durden Fri, 07/30/2021 - 17:00

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The Shadow State: Twitter Suspends Commentator For Criticizing Vaccine Policies

The Shadow State: Twitter Suspends Commentator For Criticizing Vaccine Policies

Authored by Jonathan Turley,

I recently discussed how the Biden Administration was actively encouraging corporations to limit speech and impose vaccines mandates

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The Shadow State: Twitter Suspends Commentator For Criticizing Vaccine Policies

Authored by Jonathan Turley,

recently discussed how the Biden Administration was actively encouraging corporations to limit speech and impose vaccines mandates as a type of shadow state.

Rather than take such actions directly ( and face both legal and political challenges), the Administration is relying on its close alliance with Big Tech and other companies to carry out such tasks. That surrogate relationship is particularly clear in the expanding censorship program carried out by the Twitter, Facebook and other companies.

Twitter’s actions against political commentator Dave Rubin is an example of how these companies are now dispensing with any pretense in actively barring criticism of government policies and viewpoints.

Rubin was locked out under the common “misinformation” claim by Twitter. However, his tweet was an opinion based on demonstrably true facts. One can certainly disagree with the conclusion but this is an example of core political speech being curtailed by a company with a long history of biased censorship, including the barring of discussions involving Hunter Biden’s laptop before the election.  With a new election looming, these companies appear to be ramping up their censorship efforts.

In his tweet, Rubin stated:

“They want a federal vaccine mandate for vaccines which are clearly not working as promised just weeks ago. People are getting and transmitting Covid despite vax. Plus now they’re prepping us for booster shots. A sane society would take a pause. We do not live in a sane society.”

Even President Biden admitted yesterday that he was wrong weeks ago when he assured people that if they took the vaccine, they would not be at risk for the variants and could dispense with their masks. There are breakthrough cases that have taken many officials by surprise. It is also true that there is now talk of likely booster shots.

Rubin takes those facts and adds his opinion that we should “take a pause.”

Twitter declared that to be a violation of its policy “on spreading misleading and potentially harmful information related to COVID-19.”

As always, Twitter simply refuses to explain its censorship decision beyond these generalized, categorical statements. It is not clear if Twitter is calling these facts misinformation or objecting to Rubin’s opinion about a pause. It does not matter. Twitter does not like his viewpoint and does not want others to read it or discuss it.

This is precisely what Democratic leaders pressed Twitter to do in past hearings. As previously discussed the hearing with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey who followed up his apology for censoring the Hunter Biden story but pledging more censorship. One of the most chilling moments came from Delaware Senator Chris Coons who demonstrated the very essence of the “slippery slope” danger.

Dorsey: Well, misleading information, as you are aware, is a large problem. It’s hard to define it completely and cohesively. We wanted to scope our approach to start to focus on the highest severity of harm. We focused on three areas, manipulated media, which you mentioned, civic integrity around the election, specifically in public health, specifically around COVID. We wanted to make sure that our resources that we  have the greatest impact on where we believe the greatest severity of harm is going to be. Our policies are living documents. They will evolve. We will add to them, but we thought it important that we focus our energies and prioritize the work as much as we could.

Coons: Well, Mr. Dorsey, I’ll close with this. I cannot think of a greater harm than climate change, which is transforming literally our planet and causing harm to our entire world. I think we’re experiencing significant harm as we speak. I recognize the pandemic and misinformation about COVID-19, manipulated media also cause harm, but I’d urge you to reconsider that because helping to disseminate climate denialism, in my view, further facilitates and accelerates one of the greatest existential threats to our world. So thank you to both of our witnesses.

Notably, Dorsey starts with the same argument made by free speech advocates: “Well, misleading information, as you are aware, is a large problem. It’s hard to define it completely and cohesively.” However, instead of then raising concerns over censoring views and comments on the basis for such an amorphous category, Coons pressed for an expansion of the categories of censored material to prevent people from sharing any views that he considers “climate denialism”

There is, of course, a wide array of views that different people or different groups would declare “harmful.” Indeed, Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal seemed to take the opposite meaning from Twitter admitting that it was wrong to censor the Biden story. Blumenthal said that he was “concerned that both of your companies are, in fact, backsliding or retrenching, that you are failing to take action against dangerous disinformation.” Accordingly, he demanded an answer to this question:

“Will you commit to the same kind of robust content modification playbook in this coming election, including fact checking, labeling, reducing the spread of misinformation, and other steps, even for politicians in the runoff elections ahead?”

“Robust content modification” has a certain Orwellian feel to it. It is not content modification. It is censorship.

The Rubin controversy captures this raw and biased censorship by Twitter and the other Big Tech companies. They do not want people to read such dissenting views so they declare them to be misinformation and ban the poster. It also shows how such censorship becomes insatiable and expansive with time. Once you give censors the opportunity to silence others, history shows that the desire for greater and greater censorship builds inexorably. We now have the largest censorship system outside of China and it is entirely run by private companies closely aligned with one party.

As Orwell wrote in 1984:

“And when memory failed and written records were falsified—when that happened, the claim of the Party to have improved the conditions of human life had got to be accepted, because there did not exist, and never again could exist, any standard against which it could be tested.”

Tyler Durden Fri, 07/30/2021 - 19:00

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