Bruce Melton :
PANDEMIC | The Covid-19 testing myth

If more tests meant more cases, the number of cases would mirror the number of tests.

These two graphs show the relationship between COVID-19 tests over time, and number of new cases. If more testing meant more cases, the number of new cases would be similar to the number of new tests.

By Bruce Melton | The Rag Blog | July 23, 2020

AUSTIN — More tests means more cases, right? And, everyone can get a test… The myths spread by the Trump propaganda machine, or maybe it’s actually the Russian propaganda machine — no matter, the myth exists and it is devastating to the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic where, “more tests means more cases.”

This myth has been used by leaders of all kinds, except the medical variety, to play down the seriousness of the pandemic for numerous reasons: the economic reopening, their forthcoming elections, their base… And the media faithfully but egregiously reports these false statement like they were directly from the climate change debate.

Cooler heads led by medical professionals try to assure us that those of us who are appropriately alarmed and are distancing, masking, and isolating conscientiously are doing the right thing. The entire mess is repeated back to us in the media, horrendously false propaganda and all, as if the dangerously wrong statements were some valid part of scientific research.

The media should know better, they should do their homework and understand the risks of what they report, but alas, they are bound by their perceived ethics of false balance where both sides of the “issue” must be reported regardless of the factual basis of the arguments being made.

This leaves reality to be interpreted by us.

This leaves reality to be interpreted by us: who look to our leaders for guidance and to the media to faithfully report reality.

The myth is patently false of course; one look at the cover graphic of this article tells us that at a glance. If more tests meant more cases, the number of cases would mirror the number of tests. Instead, we see the plateau in cases allowed by the shutdown, then the premature reopening allowing the virus to do its wildly contagious pandemic thing, and now we are back to the refrigerated 18-wheeler morgue trailers, ICUs filling or full and overflowing into the hallways, normal emergencies stacked up with the COVID-19 cases in ambulances outside the emergency room because there are no beds, doctors as patients in ICUs, and now we have more horror than we had before.

What little news breaks free from the CDC tells us with even more alarm that testing is way behind and that actual cases may be 10 times test results. We all know family members or friends who have had to be tested. Most of us now have family or friends that are positive. Some of us have had to postpone elective procedures once again. Some of us have had to be transferred to hospitals where there are available ICU beds. Some of us have died.

More and more of those on the right are standing up, finally. Blessing s to George Will for not only denouncing Trump, but for saying publicly that he will vote for Biden to rid our country of this scourge.

The urgency of appropriate pandemic procedures cannot be emphasized more.

The urgency of appropriate pandemic procedures cannot be emphasized more. We must find ways to survive economically while a vaccine is being developed and because the challenges of vaccine development are profound, we need to remember that there is a risk that this all could go on for much longer than just until the new year.

I have been a climate science education specialist for 15 years now and the one thing I have learned is the value of appropriate risk assessment and future planning. If we had of done what climate scientists said we should do 30 years ago with our climate pollution, we would not see the astonishingly, societally profound climate tipping points being activated today. The plausibility of these tipping points going irreversible because of climate pollution emissions in our past and having nothing to do with our future climate pollution emissions is what climate scientists have been warming us about for decades.

The plausibility that permafrost collapse ongoing right now, of what could be as much as a billion or more acres — today, emitting what could rival greenhouse gas emissions from transportation across the globe, pales only in comparison to the very real threat from recent findings of pathogen reanimation from the frozen abyss.

The need for foresight and proper planning with our future is blunt. There are unknowns out there being “awakened” by our anthropogenic behaviors that are now overwhelming the evolution of our advanced civilization. These Earth systems tipping collapses are now numerous and have implications significantly more extreme than those from COVID-19.

Please wear your PPE, distance, isolate, be safe, vote, and have the difficult discussions with your friends family and colleagues. The lessons we learn from the nonlinear pandemic behaviors we are now going through, are analog to the new threats from climate tipping we are now facing, that will only grow nonlinearly unless we cool Earth.


For more, see Bruce Melton’s article, “Covid-19, climate change, and permafrost collapse…” posted on The Rag Blog, July 2, 2020, and his interview with Thorne Dreyer on Rag Radio, KOOP 91.7-FM Austin on July 3, 2020, where Melton discusses issues raised in his recent Rag Blog article, in which he says that “permafrost collapse from climate change is 70 years ahead of schedule… [and that] new research is showing reanimation of viruses preserved in permafrost is real…”


[Bruce Melton is an environmental researcher, civil engineer, filmmaker, climate science outreach specialist, author, and director of the Climate Change Now Initiative founded in 2005; the oldest independent climate science education organization in the world. Melton has written over 500 reviews of academic climate science literature, lectures regularly, and just finished development of groundbreaking new climate policies with a small team for Sierra Club, published in March. The Initiative’s current major project is Climate Change Across America, an innovative film series of music and climate change adventure across North America, witnessing ecological collapse mired in partisan propaganda myth, hidden in seldom visited wilderness, and in plain sight in our national treasures. Melton’s career as a professional engineer has focused on critical environmental issues related to land development. His primary research was in nonpoint source stormwater pollution treatment. You can see his climate science reviews, music and films at ClimateDiscovery.org.]


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PANDEMIC | The Covid-19 testing myth

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