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Study: Asymptomatic and secondary infected individuals do not infect others

A new study published in the journal Nature has found that people who are either asymptomatic or undergoing a secondary illness of COVID-19 are simply not infectious, and don’t give the virus to others.

In other words, it appears that the only time people can infect others is when they have the virus for the first time, and only when they are symptomatic. Lock downs and the use of masks by the healthy accomplish nothing. All you need to do is quarantine the symptomatic patient, as human societies have been doing for centuries and centuries.

To once again emphasize this point, wearing masks if you are healthy and not sick protects no one. Social distancing if you are not sick protects no one. Shutting down businesses, such as reducing capacities at restaurants so they can’t make a profit, protects no one. Curfews protect no one.

When you see someone on a hiking trail, it is not necessary to run ten feet off the trail, put a mask on, and bow your head away in fear and terror of that other person. That they are on the trail guarantees they are not sick. They can’t infect you. And that you are there also means you can’t infect them.

Burn the mask. Smile. Live like a human again. And most of all, stop being afraid all the time.

This very long quote from the study’s discussion section, with the important points highlighted, makes these conclusions very clear:

The citywide nucleic acid screening of SARS-CoV-2 infection in Wuhan recruited nearly 10 million people, and found no newly confirmed cases with COVID-19. The detection rate of asymptomatic positive cases was very low, and there was no evidence of transmission from asymptomatic positive persons to traced close contacts. There were no asymptomatic positive cases in 96.4% of the residential communities.

Previous studies have shown that asymptomatic individuals infected with SARS-CoV-2 virus were infectious, and might subsequently become symptomatic. 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.

There was a low repositive rate in recovered COVID-19 patients in Wuhan. Results of virus culturing and contract tracing found no evidence that repositive cases in recovered COVID-19 patients were infectious, which is consistent with evidence from other sources. A study in Korea found no confirmed COVID-19 cases by monitoring 790 contacts of 285 repositive cases. The official surveillance of recovered COVID-19 patients in China also revealed no evidence on the infectiousness of repositive cases. Considering the strong force of infection of COVID-19, it is expected that the number of confirmed cases is associated with the risk of being infected in communities. We found that asymptomatic positive rates in different districts of Wuhan were correlated with the prevalence of previously confirmed cases. This is in line with the temporal and spatial evolution (especially the long-tailed characteristic) of infectious diseases.

Existing laboratory virus culture and genetic studies showed that the virulence of SARS-CoV-2 virus may be weakening over time, and the newly infected persons were more likely to be asymptomatic and with a lower viral load than earlier infected cases. With the centralized isolation and treatment of all COVID-19 cases during the lockdown period in Wuhan, the risk of residents being infected in the community has been greatly reduced. When susceptible residents are exposed to a low dose of virus, they may tend to be asymptomatic as a result of their own immunity. Serological antibody testing in the current study found that at least 63% of asymptomatic positive cases were actually infected with SARS-CoV-2 virus. [emphasis mine]

The conclusions then go on to spout the required politically correct blather about the need for widespread use of masks and social distancing, even though its own results showed that such measures are only useful in the presence of obviously sick individuals.

Note also, as this article does, that until COVID-19 became a useful political tool that might be used to gain power, specialists in the field of infectious diseases had repeatedly been saying this same thing, that extensive research over many decades had found that, for respiratory illness such as COVID-19, only obviously sick people are infectious. Based on that deep and well documented knowledge, they had strongly advocated that widespread quarantine measures were a waste of time.

MOST IMPORTANT: This is truly wonderful news. It means we can stop with masks and lock downs and social distancing in almost all cases. It means we should go back to normal, even though the number of detections of COVID-19 is going up. That increase is from increased testing, not an increase in sick people. If anything, it is finding lots of asymptomatic individuals whose virus load is harmless anyway.

Unfortunately, I fully expect an effort by many readers to reject these results, digging desperately for any tidbit that might be used to discredit it wholly. Being skeptical is of course absolutely proper, but today too many people aren’t skeptical, they are downright hostile to the arrival of good news. They are in love with their fear of COVID-19, and will oppose and reject any data that might mean their fear is mistaken.

Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!


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Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.


“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.


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  • Skunk Bucket

    The authorities are really starting to feel their oats. This afternoon, here in the Colorado Springs area, I got three separate, screeching Emergency Alert messages on my phone. They weren’t for the usual severe weather or Amber alerts, they were to warn me that the Covid danger is high. REALLY? I guess I wouldn’t have known that the WuFlu was out there otherwise. I wonder when they’re going to realize just how thoroughly they’re beclowning themselves.

  • pzatchok

    That seems to fit with the other studies that have been done.
    One random sampling study found that only about 15% of the population have tested positive for the antibodies.

    That means only 15% of North America has contracted the virus in the last year. If it was far more contagious then far more people would have gotten it by now.

    At just 15% a year it will take almost 4 years to gain heard immunity.

  • Shaun

    Anecdotally – Just got done traveling across the country from MN to FL for a move. Life was going on like nothing was wrong. Did a 1600 mile road trip. People weren’t freaking out. In fact, met a lot of people that were out on vacation and were having the time of their lives. They love the cheap hotel rates and the vacancy in camp grounds. If you like to travel, now is the time. If you aren’t timid you may be able to find some of the best accommodations out there at rates you wouldn’t believe. There are always opportunity in a vacuum.

  • Shaun

    Also – took the kids to Clearwater Aquarium and Clearwater Beach today. Masks required at the aquarium but not at the beach. Still, fun day. Tons of people in both locations. Still lots of fun to be had. Life goes on.

  • John C

    Echoing what Shaun said, working in agriculture, I work mostly in rural areas. Work is like vacation! Eastern Colorado and western Kansas are truly wonderful places to be while people in more urban areas are afraid of death at every turn from the seasonal sniffles.

  • wayne

    Good deal!
    Q: how much is gasoline?
    (I lived in Tampa for 9 months in the early 80’s.)

    University of Tampa
    -Riverfront Live Webcam-

  • Shaun

    Just under $2/gallon for regular.

  • janyuary

    Robert — China has a population of 1.38 billion, according to online. And according to online info as of this moment, a whopping 4,634 deaths in China. I googled (sorry, Robert!) “how many deaths in china from Covid 19 total.”

    HELLO??? There are 1.38 billion in China people and we are supposed to panic because 4,634 of them have died in the past 11 months?

    Can SOMEONE here please explain WHY 4,634 deaths ANY TIME, let alone over the course of 11 months, is even considered notable in a pool of 1,380,000,000?

    Will someone please explain those numbers?

  • pzatchok

    China lies.

  • janyuary

    pzat, that STILL doesn’t answer my question, indeed it highlights my question. So we’re basing this hysterical tyranny on how much selected doctors and politicians guess China is lying? Is China lying by a factor of five? Seven? 700?

    We KNOW that America’s medical establishment lies, its lies are demonstrable, and modern medicine has as many failures and deaths attributable to its own arrogance, as doctors did back in the days they thought malaria was caused by night air and that bleeding sick people was good for them. Science, medicine, are as filled with guesswork and faith as ANY religion.

    Therefore, if we want to honor the Constitution and the Founders’ vision, we must amend the Constitution to include SEPARATION OF MEDICINE AND STATE, SEPARATION OF SCIENCE AND STATE.

    Otherwise we have doctors overriding us in terms of our personal lifestyle choices, and we have scientists overriding us in terms of how we produce and consume both energy and food.

    SIMPLE solutions for complex problems.

  • Stephen J.

    I actually don’t think it’s fear of the virus or the disease, per se. I think it’s fear of being held responsible for whatever negative outcome occurs from one’s chosen course of action, or even just the fear of publicly looking wrong in a way that will get others to reject you. Ever since Jaws in 1975, no politician wants to be the mayor of Amity, and in our public-trial-by-social-media age even private citizens don’t want to get caught sounding like the mayor of Amity.

    I have to admit that for all my own disgust with what is clearly an overreaction, I don’t tell my wife not to wear her mask when she goes outside, because the benefit to household peace of her feeling safer and calmer outranks the benefit to my ego of trying to make her understand why she’s been gaslit.

  • janyuary

    That’s a salient point, Stephen J — it is why governors across America are becoming despots, pure and simple. They fear being the mayor of Amity — very good! It explains their ego in their extreme arrogance and tyranny, such as informing my husband today that he must abandon all hosting plans for Thanksgiving in order to receive already-scheduled minor but very important surgery, to accommodate Covid testing suddenly now required, first he’d heard of it.

    You are very wise to decline to tell your wife to do anything! It’s not your call what she wears to the market in any case .. Would that Covid believers (it’s the only thing to call them) would accept the same truth, that it is not their call to impose their fear and behavior on YOU, sure as hell not when it is apparently based on the idea that China has been “ravaged” by this “pandemic,” losing … 4,634 out of 1,380,000,000 over 11 months.

    Here in this country, American governors have closed schools, destroyed businesses, and literally killed fellow Americans based on such “science.” They are and continue to be accessories to economic and societal homicide.

    It’s very apparent.

  • JLS

    This is very good news. My biggest concern with the article is the fact that it comes from China. In the immortal words of a Hong Kong protester: “Don’t trust China; China is asshole.” No numbers coming out of China should be accepted at face value.

  • Jo Ellen Carroll

    My son sent me this article. He is the only sane child I have out of 3 children. We’re in the process of leaving a retirement community because this place has drunk too much of the “koolaid.” Restrictions?!? Beyond the pale! All you have to do is look at the numbers of this “thing.” The numbers tell the truth. I am so sick and tired of living this way. I haven’t lived my 76 years without a brain. I still use it and I know not to go around people IF I’M SICK!!! Enough already.

  • Pedro

    something goofy here. We are seeing PCR positives 3 months after infection here in the states. At the epicenter of the outbreak, right after the peak, they are only seeing .3% positivity rates? Either numbers are purely made up, or…….there may be an enormous “herd immunity” in the form of preexisting T cell immunity in the population. Given that those viruses are native to the area, it may explain why they got off relatively easily. And lets remember: They tested a group a bit larger than the state of Arizona, in two weeks, and found NO NEW CASES!

    No argument with your conclusion based ont he studies is Robert….but the numbers used to come to that conclusion require more than a little explanation

  • CWMK

    “It means we should go back to normal, even though the number of detections of COVID-19 is going up. That increase is from increased testing, not an increase in sick people..”

    I think this is stealing a base. One piece of contrary evidence, here in Mass. we have data from wastewater testing going back to March 1, when you had to be admitted with severe symptoms to get a PCR test. This data (which captures most of the Boston metro area) shows a major spike from 3/15-4/30, also shows a second smaller one starting in October right when the weather turned colder.

    At present, we are running around 2.5-3K positives a day, which is close to the raw numbers seen in April. However, we have only 900 hospitalized currently versus almost 4000 then, and the wastewater data suggests this spike is less than double the scale of the spring one. That *may* indicate the virus is also becoming less severe but I suspect that is more due to increased infection rates among 20-somethings now.

  • Wordygirl

    Absolutely agree with the earlier comment about this being a fabulous time to travel. With the new remote work environment, my spouse and I figured we could work just as easily from a beach side condo in Florida as from our home in dreary Denver Colorado. Lugging our computer equipment with us met we drove instead of flying. What a joy! And what a contrast between blue and red states.

  • Steve Kellmeyer

    “For the next four decades, swimming pools and movie theaters closed during polio season for fear of this invisible enemy. Parents stopped sending their children to playgrounds or birthday parties for fear they would “catch polio.”
    In the outbreak of 1916, health workers in New York City would physically remove children from their homes or playgrounds if they suspected they might be infected. Kids, who seemed to be targeted by the disease, were taken from their families and isolated in sanitariums.

    In 1952, the number of polio cases in the U.S. peaked at 57,879, resulting in 3,145 deaths [in a population of 157 million].”

    Polio had a 99.99% survival rate, compared to WuFlu’s 99.96%
    As a result of numbers like that, we began a worldwide effort to eradicate polio (which is still not quite completed).

    Did we overreact to polio?

  • Steve Kellmeyer wrote, “Did we overreact to polio?”

    You seem to ignore the profound differences in the consequences of getting polio vs COVID-19. While almost everyone survives the coronavirus with no subsequent harm, survivors of polio would routinely be crippled in some way for life, with the worst impact against young children.

    No, we did not overreact to polio. There were solid reasons to fear it. These reasons do not apply to COVID, especially with children. While polio was terrifying for parents, COVID should invoke no fear at all. Children are practically immune to it. As are almost all healthy adults.

    Why people seem so much in love with this fear of COVID-19 I just can’t understand. I provide some spectacularly good news in this post, and all you want to do is heighten fear.

  • Stephen J.

    “Why people seem so much in love with this fear of COVID-19 I just can’t understand.”

    Evolutionary instinct. Back when people had to guess whether those rustles in the grass by the waterhole were hungry lions or not, the consequences of being wrong were very different depending on which way you bet. We’re descended from several million years of primates who erred on the side of caution as a survival strategy, and our instincts are very bad at balancing short-term vs. long-term risks, or direct vs. indirect consequences.

    A related example is risk of driving vs. fear of flying; we are instinctively more comfortable in a higher-risk situation that we feel we can control (driving a car) than a situation we consciously know to be much safer by the odds, but that we can do nothing about if the worst does happen (flying in a plane). There’s a big difference between telling someone, “There’s no need for you to take these safety measures because there’s no danger” and “There’s no point in you taking these safety measures because they make no difference,” even if the facts on the ground are identical.

  • John Moore

    The study does not mean what you think, and it is from very early in the epidemic – in Wuhan – before much was known.

    The study classifies people as either those who never had symptoms (asymptomatic) or those who did.

    But… those who did have symptoms went through a period of a day or two of shedding a lot of virus, before they became symptomatic. In this study, those are lumped in as “symptomatic” – because they were – over the course of the illness. The study had no way to detect pre-symptomatic shedding.

    It has been well established – after the time this study was done – that pre-symptomatic people spread the virus quite well. This makes sense, since it takes a while for the body’s immune system to activate (which causes the symptoms), and the viral load grows significantly during that time. People may not be sneezing and coughing yet (more than normal), but they can and do spread the virus by talking, by normal coughing, by singing, and any other activity (eating) that can liberate droplets or aerosols into the air.

    If the disease was only spread by those who were already sick, this pandemic would be over by now. Most people with it would not be going out and infecting others, because most people, given all the publicity, are not that inconsiderate of the health of others.

  • Edward

    Robert pondered: “Why people seem so much in love with this fear of COVID-19 I just can’t understand. I provide some spectacularly good news in this post, and all you want to do is heighten fear.

    Because panic is easy, and we are wired to panic. It is part of fight or flight, and since it is difficult to fight an invisible enemy, panic and flight are the only option left. (Faulty Towers: Don’t Panic, about a minute)

    Overcoming the panic and being rational takes courage. But for those who remain three years old, those eager to let others make the important decisions for them, following the ersatz parents is the thing to do.

    Most parents keep their children calm and feeling safe, but our fearful leaders found that this results in healthy, independent citizens, so they foster fear wherever they can. It can be a fear of a disease. It can be fear of warming climates or rising seas. It can be fear of solar eclipses or the country next door.

    As for the people being in love with fear, they get to be Chicken Littles, spreading the news and scolding the skeptical. Their fear has become their new normal, and this normalcy comforts them. As with Chicken Little, they take the news to the King, who will then provide the solution and make them feel safe again, but only if everyone obeys the King in order to assure that the solution works.

    For them, the good news is not good news at all, because it removes the ability to scold the skeptics, and it reduces the reliance upon the King for safety. It brings Chicken Little back to independence and self reliance, two concepts that are scary, because they require bravery.

  • James

    Why would anyone believe any data coming from China?

  • TMavenger

    Major premise: Wuhan had the most draconian lockdown and mask wearing mandate in the world.
    Minor premise: A major study found zero cases of asymptomatic COVID transmission.
    Conclusion: Burn your mask and go back to life as normal.

    Do you see any flaw in the above syllogism?

  • wayne

    good stuff!

    let’s hear it from the source:

    “China is ______”

  • wayne

    Unconditional Surrender (1956)
    -the Salk polio vaccine-

  • wayne

    The Last Few Polio Survivors – Last of the Iron Lungs

    “The Iron Lung and Polio” by Mark Rockoff, MD

  • Steve Kellmeyer

    Robert Zimmerman, all I did was state facts. You can’t controvert the facts, so you call the stating of facts fear-mongering. Even at it’s height, polio crippled almost no one. In about 98% of cases, polio is a mild illness, with no symptoms or with viral-like symptoms. In paralytic polio, the virus leaves the digestive tract, enters the bloodstream, and then attacks nerve cells. Fewer than 1%-2% of people who contract polio become paralyzed.

    So, at its height in 1952, with 58,000 reported cases, assuming a 2% paralysis rate, that’s 1160 people paralyzed, 3000 more killed. Covid still causes more straight-up deaths than polio caused paralysis AND death.

    And, while most people recover from WuFlu (just like most recovered completely from polio), does WuFlu cripple people? Why, yes. Yes, it does. We know SARS caused long-term fatigue syndrome in 35% of its victims even 3 years after they “recovered”. Similarly, WuFlu can damage the lungs, heart and brain. The percentage is pretty much the same as polio: 3-5% of patients suffer scar-damaged lungs. For those who have been hospitalized, 13.5% were still using oxygen at home months after discharge.

    So, if you think we reacted appropriately to polio, given that WuFlu’s numbers are actually QUITE similar to polio, what will it take to make you understand that this is not much different than the annual polio epidemics we used to have?

  • wayne

    The Great Barrington Declaration
    October 2020

    Dr. Martin Kulldorff, professor of medicine at Harvard University.
    Dr. Sunetra Gupta, professor at Oxford University.
    Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, professor at Stanford University Medical School.

    “Coming from both the left and right, and around the world, we have devoted our careers to protecting people. Current lockdown policies are producing devastating effects on short and long-term public health. The results (to name a few) include lower childhood vaccination rates, worsening cardiovascular disease outcomes, fewer cancer screenings and deteriorating mental health – leading to greater excess mortality in years to come, with the working class and younger members of society carrying the heaviest burden. Keeping students out of school is a grave injustice.”

    “Those who are not vulnerable should immediately be allowed to resume life as normal. Simple hygiene measures, such as hand washing and staying home when sick should be practiced by everyone to reduce the herd immunity threshold. Schools and universities should be open for in-person teaching. Extracurricular activities, such as sports, should be resumed. Young low-risk adults should work normally, rather than from home. Restaurants and other businesses should open. Arts, music, sport and other cultural activities should resume. People who are more at risk may participate if they wish, while society as a whole enjoys the protection conferred upon the vulnerable by those who have built up herd immunity.”

  • BrianB

    I’m having a hard time understanding Steve Kellmeyer’s point. Polio was notorious for attacking children so of course society was worked up over it. Regardless, given the numbers quoted the reaction may very well have been an overreaction. Did closing pools and movie theaters have a measurable effect?
    However even if it was an overreaction, the economy wasn’t shuttered and schools closed. The economy did not contract at a 33% annual rate because of polio stay at home orders.
    At least back then the effort was made to protect the most vulnerable, In the present case we have taken drastic measures that have had little scientific backing and which have caused enormous harm and disruption to those with close to zero risk and done nothing in particular to truly safeguard the most vulnerable; somewhat the opposite of the stance taken against polio.
    As far as the effort to eradicate polio, other than a few oddballs, I’m not aware of many people opposed to developing a safe, effective vaccine for covid.
    The point has mainly been that the evidence for lockdown and mask effectiveness has been scant or disputed by conflicting studies and certainly not strong enough to warrant the draconian curtailing of our constitutional rights.
    Moreover why use a disease as different from Covid as polio? Why not use other respiratory diseases that kills thousands of the same people Covid does, but have done it every year for thousands of years? We don’t lockdown over other coronaviruses that cause colds that kill the infirm and elderly, nor the flu which kills even more. And the reason we don’t do it is not because it wouldn’t have the same effect as it has for this bug. It’s because the effects have been studied and found ineffective and pointless, just as they are now and just as the ballooning cases worldwide in countries that wear masks and don’t and countries that locked down and didn’t demonstrate. The virus has become ubiquitous and a virus is gonna virus. The only way it won’t is if we have a large scale safe and effective vaccine. Since we don’t as yet, the cure of sawing off our head to prevent a headache is understandably unpopular.

  • BrianB

    John Moore makes one good point. Most studies that refer to asymptomatic people are referring to people who never develop symptoms not the presymptomatic.

    However studies have also demonstrated that those who develop only mild symptoms also have a difficult time infecting others. And it still seems to be the case that most infections occur from close contact in an enclosed space for period of 15 minutes or more with either symptomatic people or people who will go on to develop a significant case. Others simply don’t have a large enough viral load to easily transmit it.
    That makes the point of public masking and a great deal of the lockdowns almost certainly of little to no value and absolutely of vastly less value than the political, emotional and economic destruction having the government essentially suspend civil and economic rights for whatever period it proclaims it will.
    That so many are not only not bothered by this authoritarianism but seem to welcome it, is a lot bigger risk to the country and world than the virus is.

  • Edward

    Steve Kellmeyer,
    You wrote: “Robert Zimmerman, all I did was state facts.

    You also asked a question that has implications: “Did we overreact to polio?

    I am the grandchild of someone who suffered lifelong disability due to polio. It really did cause permanent harm. Wuhan flu, not so much.

    does WuFlu cripple people? Why, yes. Yes, it does. We know SARS caused long-term fatigue syndrome in 35% of its victims even 3 years after they “recovered”. Similarly, WuFlu can damage the lungs, heart and brain.

    You equate SARS to Wuhan, and the damage that you attributed to Wuhan is the reason that they stopped using ventilators with such abandon — the ventilators were causing this damage.

    So, if you think we reacted appropriately to polio, given that WuFlu’s numbers are actually QUITE similar to polio, what will it take to make you understand that this is not much different than the annual polio epidemics we used to have?

    You have conflated two extremely different diseases. Polio was not a flu, and its consequences were seriously different. I would ask you what it would take to make you understand that these are not comparable diseases, but since Robert could not convince you through reason, it is clear that you do not understand the differences between different diseases.

    The reaction to polio was very different than the reaction to Wuhan Plague From Hell (not China, trust the Chinese on this). For one, those who were most vulnerable to polio were the ones who were the protected, while with Wuhan we protected those who were least vulnerable and actively exposed those who were most vulnerable. What were our governors thinking?

    For polio, we did not lock down everyone, shut down most of the economy, smack down any business that did not obey rules that were enforced as though they were laws, or create a Great Oppression. People were still allowed to live their lives. Elective surgeries at hospitals continued to save lives, no one was fearful of their doctor’s office, and people suffering from heart attacks were not afraid to go to the hospital for emergency care.

    People could still eat at restaurants rather than take their food home to eat. No one cancelled Thanksgiving or Christmas for polio. Social distancing? We never heard of that before 2020.

    From Steve Kellmeyer’s linked article, above:

    … six years from when Salk began his research, the Salk polio vaccine was declared “safe and effective.” Church bells rang and newspapers across the world claimed “Victory Over Polio.”

    Now that we have 90% and 95% effective vaccines, are church bells ringing and are newspapers proclaiming victory over Wuhan? No. Governor Cuomo is refusing to distribute it in New York. No one thought to refuse to get polio vaccines just because the president, when the vaccine was created, was of the wrong party.

    Were daily polio death numbers published in the newspapers or on radio or on television news? Were people afraid to take public transit, trains, or ride in taxis?

    For polio, there was not collateral damage killing more people than the precautions saved. Family savings were not destroyed, people were still allowed to travel the country freely, and jobs and businesses were not systematically destroyed.

    So if we may have overreacted to polio and its numbers were quite similar to this year’s new (novel) flu then we way overreacted this year.

    John Moore thought: “If the disease was only spread by those who were already sick, this pandemic would be over by now.

    This would be true if we had treated this flu like any other flu, but we didn’t. Instead, we have people behaving in ways that prolong the pandemic. Flus are most spread by and among people who spend much time indoors, such as happens in winter. This is why winter is flu season. We, on the other hand, are keeping people indoors even during the summer, thus the flu continues to spread as though we are still in flu season.

    We require people to wear masks, even when they are not ill. This has the effect of causing even more illness in those who become infected, because the virus ends up in a mask that is right in their face, acting like an infected person is constantly in close proximity. BrianB noted that the flu can be spread by 15 minutes of close contact. When wearing a mask, the equivalent of 15 minutes of close contact comes on the first use of the mask, so people get the disease worse than they would have, if they had not been wearing a mask. A mild infection becomes a serious infection becomes a severe infection. Those who would not have passed it on become contagious.

    The world reaction to Wuhan is what is making it such a bad flu, making Wuhan flu season an all year-round season (another difference between polio and Wuhan). What a cluster bleep.

  • Steve Kellmeyer

    BrianB, I am having a hard time understanding your confusion. Perhaps it is based on your lack of facts? Bysurpassing 116,000 this summer, Covid-19 deaths in the United States officially exceeded the number of total deaths from flu outbreaks or any other infectious disease outbreak in a single year or season since the 1918–19 influenza pandemic. And the Covid-19 death toll has also now exceeded the total number of Americans killed in WWI.

    You say that polio is incommensurable because it paralyzed and killed the most vulnerable among us. Do you mean to say that the elderly are not vulnerable? Do you mean to ignore the fact that polio killed FAR FEWER people than the flu?

    You want to argue that the Covid response is an overreaction because the economy contracted, sure, you can make that argument, but it wasn’t provable AND it is, for most people, a non sequitor. Given that we knew nothing about the virus when we started, there was no way of knowing that it wouldn’t wreak a death toll that would cause a HIGHER contraction than the lockdowns did, so it wasn’t provable at the time the action was taken.

    Worse, it’s a non sequitor for most people because people don’t like being told that they should only be kept alive if they are economically useful – sounds pretty socialist/utilitarian, and people don’t like being told that.

    Perhaps if you stuck with a solid set of goalposts, it would become more clear.
    If you want to argue that WuFlu is not a big deal because it doesn’t harm many people, then you have to ALSO say polio was not a big deal because it harmed even fewer people. Same metric, same conclusion.

    If you want to switch the measure to “harming the most vulnerable among us”, then you have to explain why elderly people are not worth considering “vulnerable.” Same metric, same conclusion.

  • Steve Kellmeyer

    Edward, you make precisely the same mistakes Robert and Brian make.

    Both of these diseases are virii. If you want to argue that WuFlu is not deadly because NUMBERS, than you aren’t comparing virii, you are comparing NUMBERS. The argument you all are making is “Disease X is not a serious disease because the NUMBERS of maimed/dead are not very high per capita.”

    Well, if it’s a NUMBERS argument, I can then logically assume that ANYTHING which produces similar per capita NUMBERS (of maimed/dead) is not a serious problem.

    But, the minute I make exactly that comparison, you all move the goalposts. NOW, you change it to say “well, it mostly harmed children, and THATS the real reason we are upset” or “well, it harmed the economy, and THAT’S the real reason we are upset”.

    When I successfully call you out on the first metric, you instantly change metrics and continue on as if you were still correct.

  • Davo

    As far as I can tell, the paper mentioned asymptomatic cases that never became symptomatic. The elimination of the symptomatic cases was likely due to the hardcore lockdown that the authorities imposed on Wuhan. What the article does not study (and, as far as I can tell, could not study because of the post-lockdown context) is the impact of exposing population to a case that may currently be asymptomatic but will developed into symptoms over time (5-6 days). I can’t speak for other countries, but in Czechia there isn’t much that would stop exposure to persons during the incubation period and the ineffective track and trace here would help little to quarantine possibly exposed people. And so while your conclusion resonates with me greatly, I don’t think the paper suggest that in any way and, frankly, couldn’t suggest it unless in a post-hardcore-lockdown Wuhan.

  • Andrew_W

    If asymptomatic people are less likely to be infectious than we thought it means that symptomatic people are more likely to be infecting others at any given level of spread. That suggests that in communities with rapid spread people who are symptomatic have been unwilling or unable to self isolate.

    But as I’ve pointed out before, it’s not obvious what levels of symptoms qualifies as symptomatic, people might have such mild symptoms they don’t recognize them as an illness.

    In this country we’ve had several cases in which infected people who didn’t recognize themselves as unwell have spread the virus, including via surfaces (a button in a lift).

  • Andrew_W

    BrianB: And it still seems to be the case that most infections occur from close contact in an enclosed space for period of 15 minutes or more with either symptomatic people or people who will go on to develop a significant case. . . .That makes the point of public masking and a great deal of the lockdowns almost certainly of little to no value . .

    But if presymptomatic people are able to spread the virus and masks reduce the likelihood of those people passing it on, even if true asymptomatic people are noncontagious, masks still can reduce transmission rates if people without symptoms wear masks.

  • Edward

    Steve Kellmeyer,

    You wrote: “And the Covid-19 death toll has also now exceeded the total number of Americans killed in WWI.

    You do make the weirdest and most inappropriate comparisons. Are you thinking that perhaps we should have gone into lockdown and worn masks in order to save lives in WWI? Surely you are not suggesting that we should use trench warfare to save lives from Wuhan flu. Right?

    Given that we knew nothing about the virus when we started, there was no way of knowing that it wouldn’t wreak a death toll that would cause a HIGHER contraction than the lockdowns did, so it wasn’t provable at the time the action was taken.

    Actually, we knew quite a bit about it from the outbreak region. By the time of the lockdown, shutdown, smackdown, Great Oppression, it had been studied within the U.S., and we already knew in April that extending the shelter-in-place was a horrific mistake. We already knew that the hospitals had not been overwhelmed and that a mere three weeks (two weeks for most of the country) was doing damage just from those who were forced to delay life-saving “elective” surgeries.

    If you want to switch the measure to ‘harming the most vulnerable among us’, then you have to explain why elderly people are not worth considering ‘vulnerable.’ Same metric, same conclusion.

    You are the one who specified children: “‘Parents stopped sending their children to playgrounds or birthday parties for fear they would “catch polio.”’” We didn’t move the goalposts. They are exactly where you placed them. As for the elderly, our governors — the ones who are supposedly saving us but are actually making everything worse — actively intentionally, and outrageously exposed tens of thousands to Wuhan, which we have been railing about since we discovered the atrocious practice.

    You asked about the possible overreaction to polio in a discussion about Wuhan flu, and now you complain that we compare and contrast? If you wanted to only talk about polio, then you chose the wrong thread.

    Both of these diseases are virii.

    The mistake is yours. You think one virus (plural: viruses) is like every other, but they are not alike. You are the one spouting numbers — five of them in your initial comment, alone. — we spout consequences, which you did in your initial comment, too (pools and theaters). The consequences to the reaction to polio were minor, but the reaction to Wuhan has been egregious and deadly in ways that you just refuse to acknowledge. The carnage is everywhere.

    Just as other trolls have done on this site, you have managed to change the discussion from the topic at hand to something else, such as the unfairness that the rest of us have better arguments, except it is expressed by changing the topic away from the troll’s failed arguments.

    If you want the answer to the question: “Did we overreact to polio?” then perhaps you should be willing to either accept other people’s answer or have counter arguments if your opinion is different and your question was intended to bring up a different — but useful — discussion.

    This is Robert’s site, however, and he seems willing to allow trolls to roam freely. Perhaps he sees them as valid opinions and not as trolls intending to disrupt the discussion with irrelevant nonsense and poor discussion techniques. Claiming that we moved the goalposts that are still in the same place that you set them is not an argument or even a valid complaint.

    Thank you for getting us back on track, and I am sorry to have fallen once again for a distraction, taking us back onto another siding instead of farther down the mainline (if I may use railroad analogies instead of aerospace analogies).

  • Steve Kellmeyer


    I asked if we overreacted to polio. You haven’t given a coherent response to that question. When I point out the factual problems with your response, you become quite irate and deem the statement of facts to be ‘trolling.”

    I’m not the one calling names here.

  • Edward

    Steve Kellmeyer wrote: “I asked if we overreacted to polio. You haven’t given a coherent response to that question.

    I don’t have to; Robert already did. Or didn’t you notice?

    When I point out the factual problems with your response, you become quite irate and deem the statement of facts to be ‘trolling.’

    You didn’t point out a single factual problem with any of my responses. You merely complained that I responded. Your statements that I had turned your numbers argument into a numbers argument are wrong, as I pointed out.

    I’m not the one calling names here.

    I didn’t say that you were calling anyone names. You keep getting your own facts all wrong, which does not improve your argument, whatever it may be (however, you did manage to quote your link without error).

    You are still distracting us from any and every topic at hand. The name fits you.

  • Steve Kellmeyer

    Edward, thank you for admitting you did not give a coherent response. I appreciate your honesty.

    Robert’s response was not a response, for the reasons already given.
    If you want to argue numbers of maimed/dead make Covid a non-problem, then, in order to remain logically coherent, you would have to agree that ANY event which provides a similar morbidity/mortality rate to Covid is also a non-problem. That would include WW I.

    Using morbidity/mortality to make your case opens you up to that response. It is deeply unfortunate that the man who writes this blog, and the people who respond on it, apparently aren’t familiar enough with statistics to realize this.

  • Edward

    Steve Kellmeyer,
    You wrote: “Robert’s response was not a response, for the reasons already given.

    Yet another wrong “fact.” It is a response, but perhaps not the answer that you wanted to hear.

    If you want to argue numbers …

    You don’t even bother to pay attention. No wonder you missed Robert’s answer.

    … you would have to agree …

    No, I don’t, and I didn’t. Yet another “fact” that you got wrong.

    Using morbidity/mortality to make your case opens you up to that response.

    Except we have not done this. Another wrong “fact.: This is part of your own “numbers” arguments, which you deny presenting. But that makes sense, as your arguments are so embarrassingly poor.

    This is fun! I’m headed out for a pre-Thanksgiving day walk for an hour or two in order to work off some of tomorrow’s calories, so I am eager to get back to read the next wrong thing that you say.

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