Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove
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Chinese Study Proves Asymptomatic COVID Spread is a Myth

by Jeffrey A. Tucker

The phrase “fog of war” is attributed to Carl von Clausewitz. It has come to refer to the confusion and uncertainty felt by everyone in the midst of conflict. It is often unclear who is making decisions and why, and what the relationships are between the strategies and the goals. Even the rationale can become elusive as frustration and disorientation displace clarity and rationality.

In 2020, we’ve experienced the fog of disease mitigation.

The initial round of lockdowns was not about suppressing the virus but slowing it for one reason: to preserve hospital capacity. Whether and to what extent the “curve” was actually flattened will probably be debated for years but back then there was no question of extinguishing the virus. The volume of the curves, tall and quick or short and long, was the same either way. People were going to get the bug until the bug burns out (herd immunity).

Gradually, and sometimes almost imperceptibly, the rationale for the lockdowns changed. Curve flattening became an end in itself, apart from hospital capacity. Perhaps this was because the hospital crowding issue was extremely localized in two New York boroughs while hospitals around the country emptied out for patients who didn’t show up: 350 hospitals furloughed workers.

That failure was embarrassing enough, given the overwhelming costs. Schools closed, commercial rights were vanquished, shelter-in-place orders from wartime were imposed, travel nearly stopped, all large events were cancelled, and so on. Clearly there needed to be a good, solid, science-based reason for why the politicians and their advisers had, on their own, decided to take away much of what we once regarded as human rights.

Talk about this began in March but faded. Sometime in summer, the idea of asymptomatic spread started to trend, bit by bit. It finally went to an explosion of interest in the first week of June. It trailed off again until very recently.

Asymptomatic spread was the answer given to the great question: I’m not sick so why should I have to be locked down? Why are we quarantining the healthy? And what possibly could it mean, in any case, to be sick without symptoms? Why are half the PCR-positive tests assigned to people who otherwise seem to be perfectly fine?

All these valid questions came to be answered by this one phrase: asymptomatic spread. You might not feel sick. You might not ever have symptoms from SARS-CoV-2. Still, you could be an even worse super spreader without knowing it, infecting people all around you who will carry it to people who will die from the disease. This was also the moment when, subtly and imperceptibly, we were being asked to think of our fellow citizens not as human beings with dignity and rights but pathogen-carrying disease vectors. We had to be masked, all of us, because we are secretly filthy and unclean: we cannot be allowed to breath near others, so even with a mask we must stay 6 feet away.

(As I type these words, I feel sure that if anyone reads them in ten years, the reader will assume I’m writing fiction or engaged in wild hyperbole. To the future reader: this is all true.)

On June 7, Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, head of the WHO’s emerging diseases and zoonosis unit, told a press conference that from the known research, asymptomatic spread was “very rare.” “From the data we have, it still seems to be rare that an asymptomatic person actually transmits onward to a secondary individual.” She added for emphasis: “It’s very rare.”

There was an understandable explosion of fury on all sides. People against lockdowns were screaming all over Twitter that if this is true, the rationale for the lockdowns mostly disappears. We can go back to our normal lives. We can open up everything again! Read Full Article >

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