Pandemic Patterns

On December 10, 2020, Dr Clare Craig, Diagnostic Pathologist, addressed a large gathering of concerned parents about Covid testing, T-Cell immunity and the testing of children and young people.

Below is the video of her opening address and my summary notes. Whilst she speaks from a specifically UK perspective, it is important to consider the relevance of what she has to say for other regions.

For example, why does Cambodia, with such close ties to China including direct flights to and from Wuhan since before and during the pandemic, not have a Covid epidemic? Recently after one symptomatic case was diagnosed, Cambodia have tested thousands of people through contact tracing networks, leading to a tiny number of asymptomatic to mildly symptomatic “cases”. Are they false positive cases and is this leading Cambodia into a false positive pseudo-epidemic?

Why do New Zealand and Australia not have the same pandemic patterns as other western countries who also locked down, some far more severely? Epidemiology is more likely to provide a range of realistic explanations to these questions than the simplistic conclusion of lockdown working and human behaviours being either praised or stigmatised and blamed. I find it difficult to believe that politics has any significant role to play in pandemic outcomes.

Dr Clare Craig speaking on 10 December 2020

  • Clare Craig is an expert in diagnostic testing.
  • Testing can go wrong in two ways: 1) missing a diagnosis and 2) diagnosing something that is not there.
  • In Spring the UK experienced a pandemic of a new virus that killed people, including young otherwise healthy people.
  • In Summer the UK had an odd lull, with a constant trickle of cases and deaths, which rang alarm bells to her that a constant, low percentage of test results were coming back as positive when there was no disease.
  • She began investigating the data and was able to make some interesting comparisons between the people dying in Spring against those reported to be dying in Summer.
  • Spring Covid had specific characteristics including: it killed more men than women, more ethnic minorities than white people, 6% of people admitted to hospital with Covid died (a very high mortality rate).
  • In Summer these features stopped, and those dying were 50:50 male:female, there was no ethnic difference, and the mortality rate was no different to usual. She concludes from this that in fact there was no Covid occurring in the UK during Summer. [This is in keeping with the knowledge that it is a seasonal respiratory virus].
  • In Autumn the UK had introduced symptom trackers where people could enter symptoms into an online app. These trackers started to show a rise in symptoms. NHS data of phone calls also tracked Covid symptoms which were entered into the system as actual Covid. These symptoms data points matched a rise in the number of PCR positives, looking as though Covid was returning.
  • By mid-September the symptom tracking data peaked and fell, and by the end of September the second wave of symptoms had passed. At the same time however, the PCR positive results continued to rise.
  • New viruses don’t disappear completely. After a Spring pandemic, it is expected that small outbreaks will occur every winter, as with all seasonal viruses. However, once the pandemic phase is over the virus no longer spreads in the epidemic way which occurred in Spring. This means the risk to society is over.
  • Given this fact, then why have the UK seen a continued rise in PCR positive cases when the symptoms are not rising?
  • PCR tests are a particular culprit of a situation that can happen, called a false positive pseudo-epidemic. The mirage of an epidemic can be created from the results of PCR testing. Cases are largely not real. There has obviously been some Covid in Autumn, largely in areas of the North West who were not badly hit during the Spring pandemic.
  • Many other places without recurrent Covid are experiencing rises in cases, but the timing does not match, death rates don’t match, and there is clear evidence that mislabelling of deaths is occurring. In reality, diagnoses of death are based on evidence and history collated with testing and a decision is made as the most likely cause of death. With a faulty test, this can obscure the real cause of death. This is a genuine mistake.
  • False positive pseudo-epidemics create a convincing delusion. They have never occurred on the scale that is occurrring today, but when they happen, everyone believes the delusion.
  • Evidence from other tests backs up the theory that the UK is currently experiencing a false positive pseudo-epidemic. The first is antibody testing which shows who has had the disease (not who is immune). The UK has been conducting random antibody testing weekly and since May these results have flatlined, supporting the theory that there is no Covid occurring. Secondly is a test which looks for the whole virus (rather than a piece of virus as with PCR testing). These tests are only detecting tiny numbers of Covid which likely mainly represent the false positive rate for these tests.
  • A lot of testing is being conducted in universities across the UK and whilst there is a handful of positive cases, there is no symptomatic Covid, suggesting that the cases are all false positive results (confirmed by the confirmatory testing conducted by Cambridge University which I shared yesterday). Based on these false positive results however, students are going to be kept at university in isolation over the Christsmas holidays.
  • There is a very unusual situation occurring, where people who absolutely understand the false positive problem are refusing to talk about it and “have become false positive deniers”. The scale of this false positive pseudo-epidemic is major but it can be solved by confirmatory testing using an alternative test. This is not being done.
  • Antibody testing conducted in UK has shown that around 7% of the population has antibodies against the Covid spike protein. This has been incorrectly interpreted as meaning that only 7% of people are immune to Covid. However, by detecting antibodies specific to one viral protein, it shows who has had Covid, but not who is immune. This is because the virus is made up of many other proteins which our bodies produce other antibodies against, which this specific antibody testing does not detect.
  • Public Health England have conducted a different type of testing, in a small sample of people, looking for the full range of antibodies against Covid. This includes antibodies against parts of the virus which are shared with other Coronaviruses, including common cold Coronaviruses which many of us have prior exposure to. In this study over half of the people tested, who had never had Covid, had various protective antibodies. This is backed up by other studies looking at other parts of the immune system, including T-cells.
  • The conclusive evidence that around 50% of the UK population are already immune to Covid comes from contact tracing, in which a maximum of half of all household contacts contracted the disease from an infectious household member.
  • Adding 50% of people with prior immunity to 7% of people with Covid spike protein antibodies shows that around 60% of the UK population are immune. Patrick Vallance, the UK Chief Scientific Advisor has apparently said from the outset that the herd immunity threshold for Covid is expected to be around 60%.

The pandemic is over. What we are dealing with now is endemic Covid, which will break out in little pockets, and that we will have every winter, but that there is no need anymore, for us to be behaving differently.

Questions arising from this UK evidence include, do Australia and New Zealand already have herd immunity? Could this somehow relate to our much stronger ties with parts of Asia who also appear to have some sort of herd immunity? Have our governments conducted any testing as has been done in the UK, to investigate these possibilities? Are the human control measures we have implemented really the reason that we are not seeing Covid now? Were we ever going to experience this pandemic in the same way that Europe and North America experienced it?

Without asking questions, it seems that we get a cultish belief system instead of generating any true understanding of the situation. Given the colossal harms of lockdown measures, this surely does more harm than good?

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