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PCR Testing, Contact Tracing is the Wrong Approach for COVID-19


Prominent Stanford University Medical Doctor Says The Strategy Only Leads to Fear and Panic - Won’t Stop the Virus

By:  David Deschesne

November 18, 2020


   Governments around the world have adopted the strategy of testing and tracing as a means to stop the spread of COVID-19 - a virus which is of the same family of viruses that produce the common cold.  One Stanford University medical doctor, though, says these tools are being used in an inappropriate way and the effects on society are turning out to be worse than the disease.

   When asked about the use of testing and tracing as part of a public policy to deal with COVID-19, Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, M.D., a professor at the Stanford University School of Medicine, physician, and epidemiologist said he thought it was the wrong way to go.  “It's a mistake.  Both the testing and the reliance on contact tracing as a way to slow the spread of the epidemic is a mistake for two reasons,” said Dr. Bhattacharya.  “First, let's talk about testing.  Let's say you have a school, you open a school and do a lot of testing in the school, you're going to find cases. [But] kids die at low rates from this relative to flu or other things.  You're not protecting them.  The only purpose [of the test, then] is to create a panic that leads to the closure of the school. 

   He said that medicine is intended to treat patients, not test numbers.  “You use the test if it changes the clinical management of the patient.  You don't use the test simply to get a number.  If I did a test on you, an MRI study of you, if I ran every medical test, I would find something - something that the test will say is bad.  The question is not whether I can find something, the question is: is that clinically meaningful?  Here, the only consequence is to shut down.  Why should we do that?  It doesn't make any sense.  You shouldn't shut down on the basis of the test alone.  I think the testing should be used where it's useful.  So, in nursing home settings and other settings where you don't want to expose people, that is clinically meaningful outcomes.”

   He also said the ever-popular contact tracing for COVID-19 is at this point useless.  “Contact tracing works when a disease is relatively rare, the spread of the disease from person to person is contained and easy to document. Venereal disease is a good example, there you can do contact tracing that's very effective.  In a setting like this with respiratory illness, where basically vast numbers of people have the disease, contact tracing can't work as a way to slow or eliminate the spread of the disease.  [Contact tracing] is not a policy that will ever eliminate the disease and I don't think, given how widespread the disease is, that it can actually slow the spread of it. 

   Dr. Bhattacharya also pointed out the compliance with contact tracers is not very reliable.  “There's one other thing about contact tracing that's real important.  You are asking people to tell public health people who they've had contact with.  That's a very sensitive fact.  The incentives to lie about that are enormous.  In fact, many people will refuse to cooperate and in Los Angeles County, for instance, sixty percent of people who are in touch with the contact tracers refuse to cooperate at all.  So, it's a really difficult challenge and the theoretical idea that let's test, trace, we'll find everybody that has it, contact them and eliminate the disease - that is not feasible.  I think it's a mistake to have that in the back of your head as a possible policy.

   Jeff Deist, from said the mainstream media's irresponsible hyping of the virus has skewed the public's perception of it.  “Media outlets used the terms, “case” and “infection” loosely, to the point of actively misinforming the public.  All of the endless talk about testing, testing, testing served to obscure two important facts.  First, the tests themselves are almost laughably unreliable [by] producing both false positives and negatives.  Second, detecting virus particles or droplets in a human's respiratory tract tells us very little.  It certainly does not tell us they are sick, or transmitting sickness to anyone.  A virus is not a disease.  Only a very small percentage of those exposed to the virus itself show any kind of acute respiratory symptoms, or what we can call coronavirus disease.” 

   “The virus will be always waiting out there on the other side of any lockdown or mask, so we might as well get on with it.  From day one, the focus should have been on boosting immunity through exercise, fresh air, sunlight, proper dietary supplementation and the promotion of general well-being.  Instead, our politicians, bureaucrats and media insisted on business lockdowns, school closures, distancing, isolation, masks, and the mirage of a fast, effective vaccine.  As with almost everything in life, state intervention made the situation worse.”

      The single most important statistic for COVID-19 is the infection fatality rate - or IFR.  Data collected through September 2020 shows that the IFR for those under age 45 is actually lower than that of the common flu.  The COVID-19 IFR rises slightly for those over 50, but it is hardly a death sentence.  Even in the most vulnerable 70+ years age group, the survival rate is still around 95%.