A Welcoming U-Turn
I do not know what you think of the government in relation to the management of the pandemic but I suspect you agree that Boris Johnson has consistently demonstrated a refined high-level skill in the art of U-turning. Over the last 10 months and in numerous times, the government has (emphatically) raised expectations only to (emphatically) turn the other way very quickly. For example, one day the Prime Minister said that “it is inhumane to cancel Christmas” and, then, two days later, he discovered that there is some leeway in inhumanity and did cancel Christmas as we all know.
But there is hope that this government will eventually get things right (well, sort of). Last week the Telegraph revealed that the updated advise is that care home residents can be discharged from the hospital back to the homes without a negative test 48 hrs before the discharge if they have no symptoms.
We read in the article,
For the first time, the Government appears to acknowledge that people could test positive for Covid but not be infectious, suggesting “it will be appropriate for them to move directly to a care home from hospital… because we now know they do not pose an infection risk to other residents in a care home”.
And, it continues,
Professor Jon Deeks, of the University of Birmingham, said it was “a scandal and a tragedy” that LF tests were being used in carehomes and schools after research found they failed to pick up 60 per cent of Covid-19 infections in Liverpool, including 30 per cent of people with high viral loads.
“There has been no proper scientific evaluation of these rapid tests,” he said. “No one seems to be telling anyone that negative results are completely unreliable, so they are spreading more infection. They’ve got to be stopped.”
I would add it is a scandal (and scientific disgrace) that the tests are used to determine our national strategy, enforce lockdowns (which, we now know, have no effect on the virus but devastating effects on everyone) and dictate the behaviour of the public when it is very well established that they are not fit for the task. Even the creator of the test has clarified three of four decades ago that the test was never meant to detect the presence of a virus. If you like to see how wrong those test can be, have a look at this piece. I try to explain in simple language the stats behind this.
Back to government’s change of heart; I don’t really think the government has changed the way they understand PCR tests. I suspect the real reason behind this is that hospitals will end up trapping perfectly well and healthy non-infectious people for weeks after they recover because the PCR tests will continue to detect elements of the virus for long time after the recovery.
This is enormous challenge they have put themselves into. From one side, they can not admit that PCR tests generate so many false positives and from the other side they can not have healthy individuals occupying beds waiting weeks to get a negative test (which seems to be a hit-and-miss case for those who had symptoms). Then, they can not openly admit that it is not reasonable to expect that the vast majority of carriers of the virus are asymptomatic. This would undermine one of the cornerstones of the government’s narrative.
The article continues,
The proposed guidance, sent out this week, states: “Clinicians should review people who have previously tested positive for Covid-19 and are within 90 days from their illness onset and test date, against the following considerations.
“Does the patient have no new Covid-19 symptoms or Covid-19 exposure? Have they completed the appropriate isolation period? If the answer is ‘yes’ to both, the person may be discharged straight to a carehome without having to enter and isolate in a designated care setting. The person does not require a further Covid-19 test in the 48 hours prior to discharge.”
Patients who do not meet the criteria must isolate for 14 days upon arrival into a carehome.
The underlying idea here is exactly this: in the vast majority of infections, patients exhibit symptoms. This seems to be Medicine 101. But you do not need to study medical science to realise this.
Just open a First Aid textbook. The first thing you read is about sings and symptoms and if you think about it, it makes sense. There would be no need for medicine science if we did not exhibit any symptoms. Even if we accept this can be the case with Covid-19 because it is novel and super intelligent and we identify that 80%-90% of the infected people do not show any symptoms (as the government says all these months), what is the problem then?
Why have we dismantled society and destroyed our lives when the general population is able to battle the infection effectively? Wouldn’t the most reasonable strategy be that we focus on vulnerable and protect them (if they wish) and let the rest of us carry on with their lives?
* Image by Gordon Johnson from Pixabay