Author of The Blackout Book and the online course Bloom Where You’re Planted
A lot of folks have distrusted the numbers coming out of China since the very beginning of the coronavirus outbreak. That uneasy feeling was justified when it was discovered that many patients weren’t being counted because they were never tested. Once an alternative testing method was temporarily approved, the number of infected people skyrocketed. This was only temporary though because Chinese officials reverted quickly to their previous method of only relying on the nucleic acid test, which is infamous for false negatives. (There are reports that suggest certain infected people tested negative as many as six times before a positive test occurred, according to MedicineNet.)
Looking at China’s official response and looking at the American official response, I see some troubling similarities that make me wonder if our own numbers are accurate at all.
Hardly anyone is actually being tested in the United States.
First of all, very few tests have actually been performed in the United States. As of Feb. 26, 2020, the CDC reported that only 466 tests had been performed in the US and the criteria for being tested is so narrow as to render the statistics useless.
This was proven to be the case with the patient in California who was finally tested after four days and found to have Covid19, even though she has not been to China or knowingly been in contact with anyone from China. Why wasn’t she tested sooner?
Because she didn’t fit “the criteria” laid out by the CDC for testing.
Hospital administrators said they immediately requested diagnostic testing from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but the procedure was not carried out because the case did not qualify under strict federal criteria: She had not traveled to China and had not been in contact with anyone known to be infected. (source)
So this delay in testing was not the fault of physicians caring for her, but because the CDC decided from afar that only certain patients could be tested. If this sounds familiar, it’s because, in China, only certain patients were given tests while thousands of others were turned away from healthcare facilities without assessment.
Here’s the narrow criteria to get tested. Basically, if you haven’t been to an affected country or been exposed to someone from an affected country, you’re unlikely to be tested.
And it gets even worse.
The first batch of tests sent out to health departments around the country was faulty.
…expanded testing has been delayed because of an unspecified problem with one of the compounds used in the CDC test. About half of state labs got inconclusive results when using the compound, so the CDC said it would make a new version and redistribute it. (source)
In Hawaii, a state thought to be at extremely high risk for an outbreak cluster, doctors now must get approval from a state investigator to test patients or even put them under monitoring. The state literally threw away specimens that had been collected from patients whom doctors suspected had the virus without testing them, because they didn’t meet the new protocols.
KHON2 was first to reveal yesterday that Hawaii doctors alerted the state to 8 cases they thought could be coronavirus. But the state did not send the specimens to the CDC for testing and discarded them, saying the patients did not meet the definition requiring testing. (source)
So 466 people have been tested with potentially flawed tests. Countless people have been untested simply because they haven’t traveled to certain countries or knowingly been in contact with someone who has traveled to certain countries.
In comparison, New York Magazine reports that more than 7,100 coronavirus tests have been conducted in the UK, South Korea has tested more than 30,000 people in “drive-thru” testing facilities, and the province of Ontario, Canada has tested 629 people. All of these places have far lower populations than the United States but they’ve tested a lot more people.
Given these facts, do you really think that only 60 people in the United States are infected?
We were all upset when we learned China was testing so few people and fudging the cause of death of others. But here we are, also testing very few people.
What about all those people being “monitored?”
You’ve probably seen that thousands of people across the country are being “monitored” by health departments. Unfortunately, that monitoring doesn’t mean that they’re being tested before they’re released from self-quarantine. It simply means the local health department is getting their temperatures and asking if they have symptoms. Here’s how monitoring works.
Those without symptoms who haven’t been to Hubei province, which includes Wuhan, are allowed to go on to their final destinations, but are asked to stay at home for up to 14 days, monitor their health, check in with their local health departments and contact their health-care providers if they develop symptoms, such as a fever or dry cough. They are asked to avoid close contact with others, typically defined as being within 6 feet of another person for a prolonged period.
Sometimes those who are self-quarantining are told they may go outside and exercise if no one is nearby, or grocery shop. The orders aren’t binding, but local health officials can issue stricter quarantine orders if necessary. So far, most people are cooperative, local health officials say. (source)
So monitoring is mainly self-instituted and no testing is being done. Don’t be lulled into any sense of false security over “monitoring.” Actual monitoring would mean that the quarantined people would have to test negative to the virus before they were released from quarantine.
To be absolutely clear, those being “monitored” are basically staying home for a couple of weeks, chatting on the phone about how they feel, then going on their merry way, with no testing involved. And considering there have been instances of asymptomatic people spreading the virus, this is hardly comforting.
And now Vice President Pence has issued a gag order.
If the obfuscation above isn’t bad enough, now all statements from health officials must be cleared by Vice President Mike Pence, the unofficial Covid19 Czar, before they can be made public.
The vice president’s first move appeared to be aimed at preventing the kind of contradictory statements from White House officials and top government health officials that have plagued the administration’s response. Even during his news conference Wednesday, Trump rejected the assessment from a top health official that it was inevitable that the coronavirus would spread more broadly inside the United States.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the country’s leading experts on viruses and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infections Diseases, told associates that the White House had instructed him not to say anything else without clearance. (source)
So not only is the US government restricted who can be tested, sending out faulty tests, and poorly managing the diagnostic process, they’re also filtering any further information the American people are allowed to get. All those warnings last week about how we could expect “severe disruptions” to our daily lives? The talk about potential quarantines and getting prepared to work and educate from home?
It looks like those may be the only warnings we get.
Remember how just weeks ago we were talking about the horrible dishonesty and subterfuge in China’s handling of the Covid19 outbreak? It kind of seems like deja vu but right here in America.
This goes right along with the Ebola crisis management playbook.
I’ve mentioned before about how the Ebola outbreak completely vanished from the news, and it looks like we’re watching exactly the same thing play out now with VP Pence in charge. Just a few days ago, I wrote:
The government prefers to “manage” the flow of information, as they did during the Ebola outbreak in 2014, when they instituted an outright blackout on information.
That information blackout was a little bit different, as it was aimed toward the media. In Cat Ellis’s book, The Covid-19 Survival Manual, she wrote that the editors of mainstream media outlets were told by the President to stop reporting on it.
To counter the rising public tension, President Obama appointed Ron Klaine, a Fannie Mae lobbyist with no health care background at all as his Ebola Response Coordinator. Klaine was known in and around Washington DC as being a man who could circumnavigate government bureaucracy and regulations. The media referred to Klaine as Obama’s “Ebola Czar”.
Within weeks of Klaine’s appointment, the Associated Press released a statement that was sent to editors. There were to be no more stories on Ebola unless it is linked to a massive upset or delay. All stories about suspected cases disappeared from the mainstream television news coverage, although you could still find articles on their websites occasionally.
So, if it is a standard for governments to downplay the severity of an infectious disease in order to control public panic, it is reasonable to examine what we know and understand that the situation is likely worse than it appears to be. (source)
Heaven knows, President Trump isn’t exactly popular with the media, which explains why the tactic this time is different and aimed at people who answer directly to the government. The tactic may be different but the strategy itself is the same.
In his recent press conference about the coronavirus, the President repeatedly compared Covid19 to the flu, when the two viruses are hardly comparable. He downplayed concerns and recommended more handwashing (which, while good advice, is hardly sufficient for an illness that is so highly contagious.)
Why would the government hide the severity of Covid19?
Of course, any government would want to avoid a panic. When people panic, things can devolve very quickly as Selco has warned. But is that the only reason they’re downplaying the spread of the virus?
As with most things when powerful people are involved, we can probably follow the money.
The market has been in a freefall and as Michael Snyder writes, it’s doing things we’ve never seen before, including yesterday’s plummet that was “the largest single-day point decline in all of U.S. history.”
Without a doubt, stocks could potentially fall a long, long way. Thanks to a tremendous rally earlier this year, stock prices were pushed to the most overvalued levels that we have ever seen. It was inevitable that prices would fall, and this coronavirus outbreak looks like it could greatly accelerate that process.
Meanwhile, analysts are increasingly coming to the realization that this virus is going to have very serious implications for the entire global economy.
For example, on Thursday David Kostin of Goldman Sachs warned that American companies “will generate no earnings growth in 2020”…
…Up until recently, Wall Street had been acting as if this was a temporary problem that would soon fade.
But now it has become clear that we will be battling this virus for many months to come.
And what happens if this crisis is like the Spanish Flu pandemic which lasted for three years? (source)
So perhaps the biggest reason for all the secrecy and lack of testing is economic.
Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney had some outrageous suggestions when he spoke with reporters in an attempt to assuage fears about the administration’s handling of the Covid19 outbreak. Here are the key points he made.
- White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney on Friday suggested that Americans should ignore media reports about the coronavirus amid fears of the deadly disease spreading into the U.S.
- Mulvaney claimed that the media has only started paying close attention to the coronavirus because “they think this is going to be what brings down the president.”
- Mulvaney said he was asked by a reporter, “What are you going to do today to calm the markets?” “I’m like, ‘Really what I might do today [to] calm the markets is tell people turn their televisions off for 24 hours.’” (source)
And of course, the inevitable flu comparison.
- “This is not Ebola … it’s not SARS, it’s not MERS,” Mulvaney said. “We sit there and watch the markets and there’s this huge panic and it’s like, why isn’t there this huge panic every single year over flu?” Mulvaney asked rhetorically. (source)
So, don’t worry. Just ignore the news. Keep going to work, spending money, and thinking happy thoughts.
Should we be concerned?
So, given that the President, the Vice President, and the White House Chief of Staff say this is no big deal, and that the CDC is hardly allowing the testing of anyone, should we still be concerned about the possibility of widespread illness and quarantines?
Personally, I’m even more concerned. Why would they go to such lengths to silence health officials? Why would testing and reporting be so shady?
I think it’s very wise to get prepared for a possible quarantine. You should make a financial plan for a possible interruption of income and you should learn all you can about the Covid19 virus and quarantine protocols. Don’t be surprised if it seems like things are under control and then suddenly, it all goes to hell in a single day. Because it won’t have been just that single day. It will have been going on all along behind the scenes.
If it gets to the point where information can no longer be hidden and a mandatory quarantine is announced, it’s going to be too late to get the food and supplies you need to hunker down for an indefinite period of time.
With the new gag order on health officials, don’t expect for a moment to get information of value before it’s too late to act on it.
I think we’re watching a desperate coverup to try and save the plummeting economy. I think there are likely to be far more infections in the United States than anybody knows about because so few people meet the criteria for testing. I think that is deliberate.
I do not trust the official numbers in the United States. Do you?
Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, globe-trotting blogger who writes about current events, preparedness, frugality, voluntaryism, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, The Organic Prepper. She is widely republished across alternative media and she curates all the most important news links on her aggregate site, PreppersDailyNews.com. Daisy is the best-selling author of 4 books and runs a small digital publishing company. You can find her on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.