If it was a song it would be an Ian Dury/Captain Beefheart crossover. Unfortunately it will never happen now.
I am seeing calls for more tests and faster turnaround. More testing is futile, if you look at the real numbers, most tests come back negative. This means nothing. It only means you hadn’t caught it by the time you were tested. You might have caught it between getting tested and getting the result. Testing absolutely everyone is just silly. It achieves nothing useful at all.
Current government guidance is to get tested only if you have symptoms. Most people won’t bother. For most people it presents as just a cold or a mild flu. Also, as a commenter pointed out, if you are a self employed taxi driver and you test positive, you have no earnings for the next two weeks. So they will not want to get a test.
On test duration… the last department I worked in had a profitable sideline in food testing. The lab was even accredited as a food testing lab. I did use PCR in my own work for identifying bacteria – it’s very good at that – but we never used it for food testing. Why? It finds DNA fragments. It will find dead bacteria and those are of no relevance to a food test.
If we found a positive, it meant the company had to recall a hell of a lot of product. A positive that was just a dead bacterium was no danger to anyone but would have been a very expensive mistake for the company. We had to find live ones, and we had to be sure. Reporting a negative on a contaminated product was even worse than a false positive. So we made damn sure we were right.
Salmonella is a case in point. We didn’t count how many there were, that was irrelevant. The test was for presence or absence in 25 grams of product. If it was there, even one live bacterium, it was a fail. We only tested 25 grams remember, not the entire thing. One in 25 grams might mean hundreds over the whole product and unlike chemical contamination, bacterial contamination will grow.
The test for Salmonella worked roughly like this: Day 1. Sample arrives, 25g is aseptically removed and placed into a sterile broth that will grow pretty much anything. No selective pressure at this stage.
Day 2. The broth is subcultured into two selective media, RV and Selenite broths. All goes back in the incubator.
Day 3. The broth is subcultured into RV and Selenite again and the broth is discarded (autoclaved first of course). Today’s RV and Selenite are put back in the incubator. Yesterday’s are plated onto agar plates of Salmonella-specific media. Those go back in the incubator.
Day 4. Yesterday’s RV and Selenite are each plated onto selective agar. We used two different ones to be sure we’d catch it. Yesterday’s agars are examined. Suspect colonies are tested. If there is a positive we can report it at this point. We cannot yet report a negative.
Day 5. The plates from yesterday and the day before are examined. If there is nothing, yesterday’s plates go back in the incubator and the rest is autoclaved and discarded.
Day 6. The last set of plates is examined. No sign of Salmonella? Not even suspect colonies tested with an antibody test? Fine. We report ‘not detected in 25g’. We would never say ‘all clear’ because we only tested 25g. There is always the chance that the 25g you cut out was the only clean bit 😉
If the product is meat or fish or salad, it’s already been sent out. The test has taken nearly a week, the product cannot be held back that long. A positive result at that stage means a very expensive and very, very embarrassing recall for the company. You have to be very sure you are absolutely right about this.
The point is, sometimes tests take time. Sometimes, especially when dealing with important pathogens, you just cannot cut corners. If I was a food producer and someone said they could test for Salmonella in two days, I wouldn’t touch them. It’s not even possible to do a reliable test in that time.
PCR testing is faster than that, sure, but it’s not instant. It still takes time, even with modern thermal cyclers. A lot is still manual too, putting the sample onto electrophoresis plates was still a manual job when I did it. If you have a lot of samples and limited equipment it’s going to take longer than usual. It’s also very easy to contaminate this kind of test. You need very well trained staff, and those are expensive and sometimes thin on the ground.
So, demanding faster turnaround on testing means demanding corner-cutting and a hell of a lot more dodgy results than the coronavirus tests already produce. Tests take time. You just have to accept that.
Surgeons wear masks for two reasons. One, so they don’t breathe germs into the open wound they are working on. Two, so that if there is a spurt of blood, they don’t get it in their mouths. That’s what those masks are for. They do absolutely nothing to protect against a virus. It even states that on the packaging.
Nurses wear masks for the same reasons. They are entirely useless against a virus.
There is a mask that is about 90% effective. As long as it is fitted by an expert who will then spray something stinky at you. If you can smell it, the mask isn’t fitted properly. In a perfectly fitted scenario, the mask lasts about two and a half hours before you have to replace it, and it cannot be re-used. Even if you get those masks, do you really think you can do better than a medically trained mask fitter? You might as well get a bean net from the garden centre and wrap that around your face.
I have ordered a Bane mask from eBay. It will offer me no protection at all. It’s just as good as those surgical masks people are stocking up with now. It is, however, likely to be a lot more fun.
Masks worn by the general public, of whatever type, achieve nothing at all. Not a damn thing. Other than to restrict breathing and act as a damp reservoir of horrible nasties breathed out by the wearer and others around them.
They should be sterilised before disposal since they are now hazardous waste but they won’t be. Those who can afford a whole box will simply dump their used masks, those who cannot will use them over and over until they are sodden, bacteria and virus laden deadly face nappies. You might as well shit in a hanky and tie it to your face.
No point telling them, they won’t listen. They have been told the face masks will save them and they point and scream like Bodysnatchers at anyone who has the sense not to wear one all day.
This virus is on the wane. Now we are told to wear masks? This makes no sense to anyone who stops and thinks for a moment. Sadly, few do, they are so well assimilated they just go with the herd. Even when the herd is clearly insane.
Early advice was to wash your hands often and not touch your face. This made sense. Coronaviruses have an outer coat held together by lipid (fats) and soap will break them. Other viruses with protein coats won’t be affected of course. This one, however, is really killed by hand washing.
The ‘not touching your face’ thing is a bad mix with mask wearing. You’re going to be taking that thing on and off all day. Touching your face every time. With no chance of hand washing in between. If that makes sense to you, then you’re insane.
Face visors, okay, I can go with that. They don’t restrict your breathing and they can be reused a lot. If you plan to sterilise them with anything, check on a corner first in case it clouds the plastic. Visors are available cheaply, the expensive ones are as good as the cheap ones at protecting you from viruses (not at all) and the negative reviews are mostly from those who haven’t figured out you need to take the protective film off first. The visor will protect you from spittle from someone talking to you and it’s a physical barrier that actually stops you touching your face. If you raise it to eat or drink, you only touch the visor. Oh, and it goes a little way to protecting your eyes too. Everyone seems to have forgotten the virus can get into you that way.
The mask narrative changed to ‘ my mask protects you, yours protects me’ to enable mask shaming. The masks do nothing protective, they are merely a means to identify the drones who will do as they are told. More importantly, to identify the ones who will question orders and who must be removed. It’s working very well.
The masks don’t work at all. Well they work perfectly for their real intended purpose. Most people won’t accept what that purpose is. Don’t bother telling them, they have been assimilated and there is no way back for them now. The same quasi-religious zeal that infects the Church of Climatology, Black Lives Matter, and all the rest. They are not going to listen. Stop trying to get through their walls, they are impenetrable. Just be ready to get the hell out of the way.
If I have to go into a shop and they are so terrified of breathing they demand I wear a mask, I will wear one. It looks like this –
Unless of course the Bane mask arrives sooner. Or the hat to go with the nice leather plague doctor mask. I know none of them will have any effect at all, but I really cannot be bothered trying to explain that when all I want is a bottle of milk or a loaf of bread. I’ll go along with the silliness for the duration of my visit.
Not that I have been in shops very much since all this started. We’ve been getting supermarket deliveries since late March because going to a supermarket is a dehumanising experience. I’d have to go alone since CStM doesn’t drive, and I don’t much like shopping.
Add to that the interesting fact that the delivery charge is actually less than the petrol it would cost to get there (30 mile round trip to the nearest one) and the money saved by avoiding all impulse-buy opportunities, and we might never visit a supermarket in person again. Nothing to do with masks, it’s turning out to be so much easier and cheaper this way.
Remember the arsepaper panic? Everyone bought up arsewipes until the rest of us had to buy the Guardian to avoid skidmarks.
It was bizarre. If civilisation collapsed there would be no sewage works and no water supply. Well, for those who don’t have a well and a septic tank anyway. Toilet paper would be an irrelevance, you’d be shitting in the woods. Stocking up on dry foods made some kind of sense, flour maybe, if you know how to make use of it. I suppose if they were planning on living on a diet of canned beans and pasta they would need an inordinate amount of toilet paper…
Why toilet paper? There were hints there might be a shortage. There wasn’t really. It looked like a shortage because people bought them faster than the shops could restock. It reached the point where many shops didn’t bother putting toilet roll on the shelves. They just plonked the pallets beside the tills. They didn’t stay on the shelves long enough to be worth any shelf stacker’s time. The shops kept restocking, the idiots kept stockpiling, and eventually the stock stabilised. All those stockpiles were irrelevant. I hope not a single shop gave a refund on anything.
There were videos online showing off their hauls of hand sanitiser, soap, bogroll and food. Not just dried food. At least one idiot had boxes full of fresh fruit. Yeah, that’s going to be a box of stinky apple soup in a few weeks. The bananas on top won’t help.
They showed off as if to say ‘Look at me, I’m ready for the Death Virus!’ while everyone else just thought ‘What a prick’. Well, not quite everyone. I was the one wondering how things would go when the local mice found that stash. We live way out in the country so we do stock up, but never more than can be fitted into our plastic or metal boxes. Stacks of pasta on the bedroom floor will soon be disturbing your sleep with the sound of tiny teeth munching.
It’s all become very silly, especially as this virus has turned out to be no more than a bad flu. Flu kills thousands every year, it leaves some with long term problems every year, and all flu viruses are coronavirus. The really bad flu season of 2018 killed more people than this one and yet suddenly, everyone is terrified.
Now we are told to wear masks that are totally ineffective because that’s how we ‘get the economy moving’. Now, I don’t think Boris is actually malicious. He is not a scientist, he is having to rely on advice from scientists. The trouble is, scientists are a lot like the engineers in the Dilbert cartoon. They have no clue how people actually function.
My bet is that Boris was told ‘If you tell them to wear masks, they’ll feel safe and go back to work’. In reality, mandatory masks tell people that everyone without a mask is a plague carrier and that it is not safe at all to breathe air anywhere.
It’s very, very easy to terrify people. I’ve been doing it for fun for many years. It is extremely difficult to un-terrify them once it all sets in. Not that I’ve ever bothered with that part. Then again, there are those who want them terrified.
There are those looking to profit enormously from a vaccine that isn’t needed and won’t work. Flu vaccines never do. They need you scared enough to not only accept it, but demand it. It’s working.
Then there’s Bill Gates and his dream of microchipping everyone. This is his chance, a chip that says you are clear of this flu virus and without the chip, you cannot buy food or use public transport… we are talking chapter one of Panoptica here. A book which should have been finished by now although I’m still not sure if I should. Am I predicting it or am I making it happen? Well it looks like it’s happening anyway.
COVID-19 is fading. It will never be gone. Swine flu, bird flu, all those things that were going to wipe us out are still around. Several cases of bubonic plague have been reported recently, that one is at least 800 years old and it’s still not eradicated. It never will be.
Viruses tend to become less vicious over time. Always. Not because of any thought on the part of the virus – it cannot think, it’s not even a whole cell – but because the deadlier version always kills its host so its spread is limited. The milder version does not kill so spreads more easily. Eventually, any new flu virus becomes a common cold. All of these are coronaviruses.
Take the test if you want, wear a mask if you want, fill your spare room with bumwipes and pasta if you want. None of this will have the slightest effect on the virus.
It’s going to follow the same pattern as all other coronaviruses no matter what you do. The virus is not what you should be scared of.
It’s the fear that’s been instilled in you that will kill you.