The “Positive” Pandemic

“Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.”

— Ernest Benn

Addison WigginDear Reader,

The U.S. government is offering to send every household in the country four free COVID-19 tests you can take at home. All you need to do is ask.

But what’s the point?

You may recall that one of our team members and his family developed debilitating sore throats over the holidays. They tried to get tested, but couldn’t get an appointment or find a testing center that wasn’t swamped with people.

So they just stayed home… which is what you’re supposed to do when you’ve got flu-like symptoms. And by the time our colleague got his hands on some take-home tests, his family was already on the mend.

His fruitless quest to have his nostrils swabbed brought him nothing but stress, while testing positive wouldn’t have changed the outcome anyway.

Dr. John Hunt, my guest for this week’s Session, tells me that he also “had all the COVID symptoms plus a test that popped positive.” It didn’t really change anything for him, either. “I got that out of my system, done with that,” he says.

As a licensed pulmonologist and immunologist, Dr. Hunt doesn’t completely share my pessimism towards COVID testing. If you’re showing symptoms, he says a positive test can warn you that “you might be really uncomfortable for a week.” Then, once you get better, you’ll know “you’re going to be reasonably well protected from this virus going forward.”

A negative test, on the other hand, tells you, “it’s probably some other virus” — meaning COVID therapies won’t make you any better. “So there’s that value to it,” he says.

The problem is that doctors aren’t just testing people who think they might be sick. People who’ve been exposed to the virus or don’t want to get vaccinated are getting their nostrils swabbed, too. And that’s making the pandemic seem much worse than it is.

“This has been a pandemic of COVID positive tests,“ Dr. Hunt explains. “Being COVID positive doesn’t mean you have infectious COVID, doesn’t mean you’re going to get sick, doesn’t mean you’re going to get anyone else sick.”

Even worse, many of the tests being used are overly sensitive, increasing the number of false positives.

“You get a couple of strands of viral RNA up your nose from walking through the CVS on the way to go get your COVID test,” Dr. Hunt says by way of example. “It’s not nearly enough to infect you because the body has immune protections against viruses.”

But it’s enough “to pop that positive” — allowing officials to label you “another person who’s got COVID.” You’re now a statistic they can use to “make it more dangerous sounding.”

Dr. Hunt doesn’t believe it’s a conspiracy, though. “I don’t trust conspiracies very much because they tend to fall apart,” he says. Instead, “it’s more like mass psychosis, where people are just drinking so much of this Kool-Aid.”

In short, “they should never have been testing the asymptomatic people, because that just contaminates” the numbers. All it does is create more worry, which just makes things worse. “Anxiety just turns on their steroid production, which suppresses their immune system,” Dr. Hunt says. “It’s not terribly helpful.”

The numbers back up his assertion. “We’re seeing the data now showing how much depression, anxiety, death, non-COVID related death has accelerated in the last year.”

He pins the blame on the “public health world,” which is “trying to get everybody all uptight. And so they’re making people sick.”

This is where politics come into play. “Any medical illness that gets politicized, it gets totally fouled up,” Dr. Hunt says.

More on that tomorrow.

Follow your bliss,

Addison Wiggin

Addison Wiggin
Founder, The Financial Reserve

Addison Wiggin

Addison Wiggin

Addison Wiggin is founder and executive publisher of Agora Financial LLC, an independent economic forecasting and financial research firm. He and Bill Bonner began writing the firm’s flagship Daily Reckoning in the midst of the tech boom and bust. It was one of the first widely distributed email newsletters on the Internet. The publication’s critical eye on finance and economics continues today. He’s also creator and editorial director of Agora Financial’s daily missive The 5 Min. Forecast.

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