I have been studying developments in the COVID-19 pandemic since the day it started to gain attention.
What Determines Whether Someone is Diseased?
Up until the year 2020, the practical concept of infected meant that a person was ill, unwell, sick, unhealthy, or overcome by an invasive agent in such a way as to destroy tissues, limit daily functioning, and disable ordinary life activities. With the advent of the COVID-19 crisis, however, leaders in both government and the health care industry seem to have perverted the concept to irrational, paranoid extremes. The culmination of this irrational paranoia has been the popular idea of the asymptomatic carrier, with the implication being a carrier of the COVID-19 disease, where people who do not cover their faces with cloth are bullied by what amounts to demonic rituals of a face mask cult.
I contend that, somewhere in the panic about an alleged novel coronavirus, a large number of people have confused the technical definition of infection (presence of a virus) and the practical idea of being contagious with a clinical illness. The result has been a government standard of branding all people, even clinically healthy people, as presumed asymptomatic carriers of the COVID-19 disease.
The confusion is this: People can carry a virus. In fact, normal people carry a number of viruses that exceeds the number of living cells in the human body by six times. Carrying a virus, thus, does not automatically mean carrying a disease attributed to a virus.
All viruses are not bad. Some are bad. And some are very, very bad. The SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes the COVID-19 disease has taken on the reputation of evil that is unjustified by the facts. The confusion about the meaning of being diseased has only increased because of this unjustified exaggeration about how bad the SARS-CoV-2 virus is.
Regardless of how bad a virus might be, healthy people with zero clinical symptoms simply are not diseased with any virus, even if they are carrying a virus. No such attitude has ever existed in our human collectives. Cooperative collectives of humans cannot exist, if such an idea is given full credibility.
Removing judgment about one’s state of health, denying individual judgment about one’s condition to operate in a collective, and placing this judgment in the hands of a government agency, using a perverted definition of infection, destroys the very integrity of such collectives. The concept of asymptomatic carrier (of a disease), I would caution, becomes a conceptual virus that could easily thrust civilization itself into a diseased state.
Good Judgment Gone By the Wayside
Common sense informs us that a person who appears healthy, functions normally, and performs in a healthy manner is, in fact, healthy and fit to engage in the interpersonal relationships of daily living. Grave concern about the possibility of someone’s being a threat for unknowable or unverified reasons borders on psychosis.
We do not move through life with grave concerns that everybody we encounter might be a thief or a murderer or a child molester. Thieves, murderers, and child molesters certainly do not advertise themselves in stores, when they shop for groceries or seek out services in the marketplace – their tendencies are hidden, and we do not know who they are, until their criminal behavior manifests in reality.
We do not conduct ourselves in the world on the standard assumption that every person we meet in public is infected with behavioral characteristics that would eventually turn them into a killer or a thief or something worse. Instead, we live in the moment by trusting our senses in the moment, accepting a certain amount of risk, and relying on our good judgment, based on knowledge and experience in real life. We do not speak of asymptomatic thieves or asymptomatic killers.
Why, then, do we, all of a sudden, speak of asymptomatic carriers of a viral disease? Again, I suggest that this is a state of confusion, exaggerated by unfounded fear. I further suggest that irresponsible communication by news media and supposed health authorities have enhanced this state of confusion and have promoted the unfounded fear that feeds such confusion.
Asymptomatic Transmission Is the Foundation of Forced Human Separation
Lockdowns, social distancing, and universal face masking are all based on the idea that people without symptoms of COVID-19 are transmitters of the disease itself. Once again, consider the basic premise here: healthy, functional people are transmitters of disease. The very phrase, asymptomatic transmitter of disease, then, is an oxymoron – a self contradiction that fails to make any appeal to common sense.
It turns out that real-world research supports common sense in two ways:
- An extensive study in 2006 revealed that even if asymptomatic transmission occurred on a large scale, the harm from trying to control it using a lockdown philosophy would be as great or greater than the disease left alone to work its way through a population where control measures focused on the truly ill.
- A large-scale study at the alleged birth ground of COVID-19 (Wuhan, China) has provided the best evidence that asymptomatic people simply are not the rampant transmission mechanisms of manifested illness that popular wisdom has portrayed.
More on these two points follow.
1. Refutation of the Lockdown Model
The foundational paper arguing in favor of lockdowns and forced human separation was this:
- Glass, R. J., Glass, L. M., Beyeler, W. E., & Min, H. J. (2006). Targeted Social Distancing Designs for Pandemic Influenza. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 12(11), 1671-1681.
The scholarly paper arguing against lockdowns and forced human separation was this:
- Thomas V. Inglesby, Jennifer B. Nuzzo, Tara O’Toole, and D. A. Henderson (2006).Disease Mitigation Measures in the Control of Pandemic Influenza. Biosecurity and Bioterrorism: Biodefense Strategy, Practice, and Science, 4(4), 366-375.
As Jeffrey A. Tucker put it, writing for the American Institute for Economic Research:
- Thus did some of the most highly trained and experienced experts on epidemics warn with biting rhetoric against everything that the advocates of lockdown proposed. It was not even a real-world idea in the first place and showed no actual knowledge of viruses and disease mitigation. Again, the idea was born of a high-school science experiment using agent-based modeling techniques having nothing at all to do with real life, real science, or real medicine.
2. Refutation of the Asymptomatic Transmission Premise
I will allow this study article to speak for itself (using key quotes in a bulleted list):
Cao S, Gan Y, Wang C, Bachmann M, Wei S, Gong J, Huang Y, Wang T, Li L, Lu K, Jiang H, Gong Y, Xu H, Shen X, Tian Q, Lv C, Song F, Yin X, Lu Z (2020). Post-Lockdown SARS-CoV-2 Nucleic Acid Screening in Nearly Ten Million Residents of Wuhan, China. Nature Communications.
- Virus cultures were negative for all asymptomatic positive and repositive cases, indicating no 'viable virus' in positive cases detected in this study.
- None of detected positive cases or their close contacts became symptomatic or newly confirmed with COVID-19 during the isolation period
- .... there was no evidence of transmission from asymptomatic positive persons to traced close contacts.
- Compared with symptomatic patients, asymptomatic infected persons generally have low quantity of viral loads and a short duration of viral shedding, which decrease the transmission risk of SARS-CoV-2. In the present study, virus culture was carried out on samples from asymptomatic positive cases, and found no viable SARS-CoV-2 virus. All close contacts of the asymptomatic positive cases tested negative, indicating that the asymptomatic positive cases detected in this study were unlikely to be infectious.
- In summary, the detection rate of asymptomatic positive cases in the post-lockdown Wuhan was very low (0.303/10,000), and there was no evidence that the identified asymptomatic positive cases were infectious.
An Appeal to Reason
I cannot add much more to these very clear statements of fact. I can only appeal to government and health leaders to follow the real science. Shut down the shut downs, get people back together again, unmask the fearful masses, deal objectively with people who are truly ill, and encourage rational behavior in people who do not show clinical symptoms of illness.