by Karl Denninger, Market Ticker:
It is known, of course, to Fauci, Birx, TNDOH, Vanderbilt, Harvard, Yale and others. It’s their job to keep on top of such things, and yet there has been exactly zero word said about any of it by any of these organizations or individuals.
RT-PCR testing is what all the breathless case counts are predicated on. From it we drive all public policy. We presume these actual case counts are accurate, that they represent the spread of the virus across the population, and that these positive tests represent a minimum number of infected people.
As with most respiratory viruses not everyone who gets one seeks medical attention. As such a large percentage of flu sufferers and virtually all common cold sufferers, for example, are never picked up by “testing” of any sort because they never go to a doctor. For this reason any such “testing” paradigm can only put a lower boundary on infections, never an upper one, especially with a virus that in many — or even most — cases does no serious harm.
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But what if I told you that in an utterly enormous percentage of cases the test is in fact false?
That is, the screaming headlines of “10 million!” infected Americans might really only be 1 million?
Well, that would change things wouldn’t it? It would reshape how we think of Covid19. It would likely make you think that perhaps there’s really no big deal at all because this virus is really not very easy to transmit to other people. Oh sure, you can give it to other people, but it’s nowhere the “slam dunk” that has been portrayed.
Well we have that here folks.
PCR testing uses a “cycle count” as I described in my last article. Each “cycle” is a doubling of whatever you had the last time. At some point if the sample fluoresces it is called positive. If you run out of cycles first, it is negative.
But what is it positive for? Not necessarily infectious virus, because the test is incapable of determining that. Instead the test keys on and amplifies pieces of RNA that are considered to be unique for Covid-19. So long as those RNA segments really are unique this sounds like a good test in general.
But is it?
See, there are pieces of virus, bacteria and molds all around you all the time. They’re in every breath you take in ordinary air. They’re in your house. There is a literal trillion bacteria and viruses in the average deuce you dropped this morning and if you smelled it, some of them got into the air. They’re why, if you leave bread out it grows mold; the mold spores are all around you all the time, and if you give them a good place to grow then they do grow into a visible colony. Bacteria are the same; they’re complete organisms, so if you give them a good environment “as they define it” with access to acceptable food and moisture they will multiply. Viruses, on the other hand, are not complete organisms. They cannot reproduce without a host cell to invade, as they only contain RNA, not DNA and a nucleus.
Since a PCR test can only tell you whether or not there is RNA from Covid19 present, but not whether there is virus present, in order to abuse that technology to serve as a diagnostic we have to find some means of calibrating the difference. After all, finding RNA alone does not make you sick. But, because viruses replicate exponentially and have a very high replication number if we find a lot of virus fragments we can probably infer you might have an active infection.
Is that good enough? Not really, but without culturing virus its all we got.
Enter the problem:
It can be observed that at Ct = 25, up to 70% of patients remain positive in culture and that at Ct = 30 this value drops to 20%. At Ct = 35, the value we used to report a positive result for PCR, <3% of cultures are positive. Our Ct value of 35, initially based on the results obtained by RT-PCR on control negative samples in our laboratory and initial results of cultures , is validated by the results herein presented and is in correlation with what was proposed in Korea  and Taiwan .
Remember that a “Ct” is a doubling.
So if you have a positive at Ct25, where 70% of those positives actually have infectious virus that can be cultured (in other words, they not only are sick they can potentially give the disease to someone else) and take the Ct to 30 you have done:
32 times as large an amplification.
When you do this only one in five samples is infectious; the other four people are not.
In other words, at Ct30 four out of five people you claim have the disease do not have it. They either had it and have recovered or they never got actively infected at all and what you measured was viral debris.
At Ct35, which is one one thousandth the Ct25 value for detected RNA levels this drops to less than 3%.
In other words if you quarantine people and call them “positive” based on a Ct35 setting 97% of the time you’re wrong; that person has no competent, replicating virus in their system that can be transmitted to other people.
But what’s worse is that virtually all of the testing being done today in America has a Ct40 cutoff.
That’s 1/32,000th the amount of Ct25 in which you still have 30% of the alleged “positives” that in fact are not.
The percentage of persons with actual virus that can be cultured from a Ct40 test is a tiny fraction of 1% — statistically zero.
This does not mean that those people won’t go on to get the virus. But it means that at the time you tested them and declared they were “infected” you had no scientific basis whatsoever to make that statement. It is a factually false statement in that more than 99% of the time if you culture that person’s snot you will get no growth.
Since there is zero publication of the Ct numbers at which these samples that are reported as “positive” actually turned positive we have no way to know what the distribution of those positive tests is. A person who presents at a health care center with atypical flu symptoms characteristic of Covid19, such as fever with loss of taste and/or smell, and who tests positive, likely does indeed have Covid19. But a person who goes through a drive-through testing center and tests positive, unless the test returns the Ct number in the results which are then reported by stratification when given the public almost-certainly does not have Covid19.