How People Misread A CDC Announcement

July 28th, 2021 | RR

You have probably heard that the CDC had to withdraw their emergency approval for PCR tests and publicly admit that the tests are unable to differentiate between the flu and Covid. This means that the flu virus has been producing false positive Covid results since 2020 and that the entire pandemic has, thus far, been a farce and why the flu virus has virtually disappeared from hundreds of regions in North America. July 21st, 2021 marks the official date that the CDC, in a public lab alert, admitted that the pandemic was a hoax. Finally, all the conspiracy theorists can gloat about how right they were all along.

Not exactly. Actually, none of what I just described is true.

It's another unfortunate day when we have to explain how a simple CDC press release and alert to laboratories was misinterpreted and misrepresented by hundreds, maybe thousands, of mostly right-wing personalities and followers on the internet. The entire pandemic has been a disaster of misinformation, contradictions and lies from the corporate media, but now we have to contend with our own team's inability to interpret, read and present information honestly. 

Again, conservatives and right-leaning people have been made fools of by a CDC announcement about the withdrawal of emergency approval for PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests, which they, themselves, misinterpreted and used to prove themselves right about the "plandemic".

Very clearly, some conservatives used the information contained in the CDC announcement to deliberately mislead their followers, while others merely misread and ignored certain pieces of information. Regardless, social media has been abuzz with allegations of PCR tests not being able to "differentiate" between coronavirus and influenza. 

Let's dissect the CDC statement, piece by piece, so we can all see where so many "conservatives" went wrong. 

First, this isn't about arguing the accuracy of PCR tests and whether or not they are perfect. This is also not a defence of the CDC, which is often used as a political tool by sitting presidents. PCR tests may or may not be accurate 100% of the time and they can be misused and abused, just as the test's inventor, Kary Mullis, once stated. However, PCR tests have been used successfully to detect other viruses, not by actually testing for the viruses themselves, but for their unique genetic material. Many have agreed that PCR tests cannot necessarily be used as reliable measurements of whether a person is still infectious with a particular virus when a test is confirmed positive. These are all separate debates and arguments.

Second, the average person was relatively unfamiliar with PCR tests and the fact that they have been used to diagnose other viruses, like herpes, very successfully for decades. Only now as the pandemic has become headline news have people taken interest in PCR tests. Many will argue about their accuracy for years to come and that's fine.

This is about how a CDC announcement was misconstrued and then weaponized by those who believe the entire pandemic was a hoax. We can all be skeptical of the mainstream narrative while still acknowledging the truth when we see it. Lying and misrepresenting information to advance our arguments only makes us look weak, stupid and desperate. We should leave the job of lying to the mainstream media.

Now, let's begin the dissection. 

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It all started in a CDC Lab Alert entitled "07/21/2021: Lab Alert: Changes to CDC RT-PCR for SARS-CoV-2 Testing"

From the beginning, the title told us that this was a "change" to PCR testing recommendations. 

This is how the alert started:

After December 31, 2021, CDC will withdraw the request to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) of the CDC 2019-Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Real-Time RT-PCR Diagnostic Panel, the assay first introduced in February 2020 for detection of SARS-CoV-2 only. CDC is providing this advance notice for clinical laboratories to have adequate time to select and implement one of the many FDA-authorized alternatives.

As stated in the very first paragraph, the CDC makes it clear that they are withdrawing emergency use authorization for a test that "only" detects the virus that causes Covid. 

The test they are referring to is like all other PCR tests before it, like the PCR test for HIV, the first SARS and genital herpes. PCR tests are designed mostly to detect the specific genetic material of one particular virus. An HIV PCR test will not be able to detect the flu or herpes and would produce a negative result for HIV if the subject was infected with either of those viruses, but not HIV. Only multiplex PCR tests can test for multiple viruses. 

The PCR test that was designed to detect this new coronavirus in 2020 is not (and was never) capable of detecting influenza. A person infected only with the flu would test negative using the Covid PCR test. When used incorrectly on Covid patients and if viral concentration is too small, these tests can sometimes produce false negatives. This is something that has been well known and written about. False positives are far more rare than false negatives, according to actual scientific studies. 

If we are going to point to pre-2019 scientific studies about how useless cloth masks are, then we also need to consider other scientific studies that have tested PCR tests. We can't cherry-pick all of our studies. 

Opinions will vary on this and the actual accuracy of PCR tests based on various old quotes around the internet, but let's get back to what the CDC actually said. 

The second and final paragraph:

In preparation for this change, CDC recommends clinical laboratories and testing sites that have been using the CDC 2019-nCoV RT-PCR assay select and begin their transition to another FDA-authorized COVID-19 test. CDC encourages laboratories to consider adoption of a multiplexed method that can facilitate detection and differentiation of SARS-CoV-2 and influenza viruses. Such assays can facilitate continued testing for both influenza and SARS-CoV-2 and can save both time and resources as we head into influenza season. Laboratories and testing sites should validate and verify their selected assay within their facility before beginning clinical testing.

This was the paragraph that set social media ablaze. 

The word "differentiation" somehow caused the internet to conclude that the old, previous test could not differentiate between Covid and the flu and, therefore, was probably producing false positives in people who were actually infected with the flu. 

They are partly right. The old test couldn't differentiate between the flu and Covid because it couldn't test for or recognize the flu at all. 

They then went on to erroneously connect the second paragraph about "multiplex" testing to the previous paragraph about the old test that could "only" test for the coronavirus. However, they totally appeared to ignore the "only" from the previous paragraph and the "multiplex" from the last paragraph.

The word "differentiation" became the smoking gun. Never mind that it was actually being used as a description of what some of these new "multiplex" tests for Covid could do. 

If you're going to release a statement describing a multiplex PCR test that can test for both influenza and coronavirus using one sample, would it not be responsible to also state that it can differentiate between the two viruses and notify the tester which virus the patient actually has? Without the word "differentiation", some might assume the multiplex tests would just give one single positive result and leave the tester confused about whether it was the flu or coronavirus. 

You can read more about multiplex PCR tests here.

Perhaps we can partly blame the CDC and their choice of words for this latest viral epidemic of misinformation, since they have gotten their facts wrong in the past, but in this case, any person with legitimate sense should have known what was being stated in this announcement. The word "differentiation" was isolated and used by right-wing propaganda artists (ones who are very bad at what they do) as a means to create even more division and distrust. 

In some cases, it was an honest mistake by people who only skimmed the announcement and drew their eyes onto that single word. 

In conclusion, the CDC never said they were pulling the current PCR test because it couldn't differentiate between the two viruses. They merely stated that multiplex tests should be used during flu season to save time and money by streamlining the testing process. Instead of recommending the old PCR test, they are now encouraging labs to use multiplex tests that can test for both the flu and coronavirus. 

That's it, that's all.

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