A Tyranny of Testing: Why We Need to End Wholesale COVID Testing...Now

AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

 

Every day, we get more reports of positive COVID tests and COVID “clusters.” The reporting from corporate media and elected officials is often accompanied by breathless admonitions to “wear a mask” and “stay home, save lives.” Political leaders point to alarming graphs with COVID-positive red lines trending up, up, up. They use those red lines to tell us why they continue to keep vital businesses and social activities closed and why our governors maintain a vice-like grip on the one man/woman rule that comes with emergency powers. Every hysterical report from the corporate media is the same — testing is increasing and COVID cases are increasing.

But lately, I’ve been asking myself…so what?

The American journalist community seems to have done away altogether with questions about this virus and our reaction to it. The American political community seems to have taken advantage of that fact as they continue to thwart our republican system in the name of “safety.” Every report of increased COVID cases or a COVID outbreak in sports or at a school begins with alarm and ends with scolding.

“See! If everyone everywhere had only worn a mask and stayed home there would be no COVID outbreaks like this.”

We’re not supposed to think about what’s missing here.

And what’s missing is information and context.

COVID has somewhere between a 98.2% and 98.6% survivability rate. If you remove the medically vulnerable from the equation it’s nearly 100%. If COVID had the fatality track record of the various incarnations of the flu or heart disease then that might be cause for alarm as cases rise. That would put us in need of the situation we were originally told we were all entering into — 15 days to slow the spread, 30 days to bend the curve. Those are numbers that certainly would have overwhelmed hospitals all across the nation, given the complicated treatments for this virus.

However, that isn’t what happened. The field hospitals both federal and local governments scrambled to set up to accommodate COVID surges have since been dismantled. Hospital ships have since been redeployed. Some hospitals have seen ICUs approaching capacity (particularly in areas with a large vulnerable population) but most ICUs in the country remain relatively stable. The loss of life is real, and also it is nowhere near the 3-5 million lives lost we were threatened with in the beginning of all this.

So what is the point of continued testing? Positive COVID cases go up, but the fatality rate is only improving.  That scary red line is only ever going to go up according to the very basic rules of addition. What we need to know is what it means for that line to go up.

By my estimations, at this point, it means exactly nothing.

A breathless report on an outbreak is absolutely meaningless unless we know the results of that outbreak, but every corporate media story only ever stops at scolding. There’s no context, ever. How many people who tested positive actually got sick? How many even knew they’d been exposed? How many ended up in the hospital or on medication? How many succumbed and how many recovered? Did the fatality rate rise after the cluster was discovered? Did it drop? Does it matter?

Of course, we can see quite plainly that it does not matter to the easily frightened and those who read headlines but not information. What seems to matter is control, and most likely the election.

When the Obama administration was dealing (or not dealing) with H1N1 there was nary a peep about it in the media. We lost a lot of lives to that flu and apparently, it was an international emergency, but with a media that had turned into stenographers for eight straight years, most of us didn’t even know it was happening. In fact, there is increasing evidence to show that COVID itself has been on our shores since at least December of last year, if not earlier. We were all living with it and yet life continued as usual. It was a bad flu season, unremarkable in the way that such things thankfully become when you live in an advanced, successful society.  It wasn’t until we were told we should be scared to death that we indeed became scared to death…of everything.

Do you even know what happened to all those workers who tested positive at a meat-packing plant in South Dakota? Do you know anything about how many of them survived, succumbed, or never became sick at all?

Wholesale testing is becoming akin to yelling fire in a crowded theater. It has become dangerous to the cultural and emotional well-being of our nation. Leave it to a public school system that declares math “racist” to produce entire generations of adults who don’t understand how math works. Testing goes up, cases go up, but the danger keeps going down…and yet here we are. If testing shows nothing but how many tests were given then what is the endgame?

Corporate media doesn’t even try to pretend like there’s some kind of victory in increased testing. It does nothing to cure COVID or stop the spread of COVID. It’s a number on a graph. A number that most people will go on living with and not even notice as soon as the media stops obsessing about it.

That red line is fear, not information. It is useless. It’s time to end wholesale testing. When it comes to testing outside of individual requests we should only be testing the sick and most certainly we should not be quarantining the healthy.

The only goal of wholesale testing at this point should be to serve as a friendly warning to residents — don’t forget to wash your hands, wear a mask if you’re vulnerable, and consider limiting movement and physical contact with others until you feel safe to do so.

That’s it.

What we have now is a tyranny of testing.

From Redstate’s Brandon Morse…April 1, 2020.