Thursday, March 4, 2021

What About Asymptomatic Spread?

The most fundamental reason that we have lockdowns and mask mandates is based on the assumption that Covid-19 is being spread by asymptomatic carriers.

However, is this true?

Are people with no symptoms whatsoever walking around infecting other people?

It is a critically important question as if there is no asymptomatic spread, there is no scientific basis to argue we should have lockdowns or for everyone to be walking around with masks on.

Last January the Chinese stated that it appeared that Covid-19 was being transmitted by asymptomatic carriers during the incubation period before people displayed symptoms. In other words, people who tested positive for the virus but showed no symptoms. 

This was at the same time we saw videos showing what appeared to be young, perfectly healthy individuals collapsing and dying on sidewalks. 

One year later, have we seen any of this anywhere outside of China?

In the fullness of time, it appears contrived and suspicious to say the least.

At the time of China's claim last January, Dr. Michael Osterholm, who is the Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota ( and now an important Biden adviser on Covid), said that asymptomatic spread of the virus would be contrary to anything he had observed in 17 years of research and study of coronaviruses.

Dr. Anthony Fauci said the same thing in January of last year.

"Even if there is some asymptomatic transmission, in all the history of respiratory-borne viruses of any type, asymptomatic transmission has never been the driver of outbreaks," Fauci said. "The driver of outbreaks has always been a symptomatic person."

Later both of these "experts" changed their tune on this subject but the evidence for that reversal is suspect.

In fact, one of the WHO experts on the subject stated in June that asymptomatic spread regarding Covid appeared to be "very rare" at the same time that mask mandates were being touted as the answer to ending the pandemic.

So it came as a surprise when Maria Van Kerkhove, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) technical lead for COVID-19, said at a press briefing on June 8 that asymptomatic transmission appears to be “very rare.” Her statement came just days after the organization directed healthy people living in areas with widespread community transmission to wear fabric face masks in public to help contain the advance of the disease. 

Kerkhove later walked back this admission in some respects under a lot of pressure from Fauci and others but her statement clearly showed that asymptomatic spread seems to not be driving much infection or contagion of the virus.

You may recall that it was shortly after Kerkhove made her statement that CDC Director Robert Redfield said that the pandemic could be stopped in 4-6 weeks if everyone wore a mask.


This week, Dr. Redfield is urging Americans to put on a mask while in public to stop the spread of COVID-19. He said, “If all of us would put on a face covering now for the next 4 weeks to 6 weeks, I think that we could drive this epidemic to the ground in the country.”

That statement was made eight months ago. Is that long enough to see if it is working?

A big reason for this is that it has been shown in PCR testing that asymptomatic cases have lower loads than those with symptoms. Low viral loads means there is generally little chance of passing the virus along from a carrier.

For example, a study published in thebmj in December included this statement.

The transmission rates to contacts within a specific group (secondary attack rate) may be 3-25 times lower for people who are asymptomatic than for those with symptoms. A city-wide prevalence study of almost 10 million people in Wuhan found no evidence of asymptomatic transmission. Coughing, which is a prominent symptom of covid-19, may result in far more viral particles being shed than talking and breathing, so people with symptomatic infections are more contagious, irrespective of close contact. 

This seems to be confirmed in a JAMA analysis that was recently released that found that there was only a 0.7% transmission rate from asymptomatic cases of people living in the same household with the positive Covid case.

Bear in mind that included in the asymptomatic cases were those who were really pre-symptomatic meaning that they did eventually developed symptoms.

Interestingly, the transmission rate was only 18% within people in the same household even with cases that were symptomatic. This would suggest that the virus is far less infectious than the media narrative suggests.

To add credibility to the 18% transmission rate in close quarters, that is also about the same infection rate that was found on the Diamond Princess and Teddy Roosevelt aircraft carrier early in the pandemic. Approximately 80% never got the virus despite being in very close contact with others on the ship.

Let's put that 80%-82% number who did not get infected with Covid in perspective. 

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are claiming to be 95% and 94% effective against contracting mild to severe cases of Covid. Johnson & Johnson claims to be 66% effective.

However, the facts in the household study, the Diamond Princess and Teddy Roosevelt shows 80-82% efficacy using God's vaccine---the natural human immune system .

This is also measured in an environment with a lot of positive cases in very close quarters.

The vaccine trials did not involve close contact cases overall. It involved test subjects in everyday life.

What was also striking in the trials is how few people got Covid in either the vaccine arm or the placebo arm. 

I wrote about that earlier this year in my blog post Covid +1.

You undoubtedly have seen the headlines that the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines are said to be 95% effective.

However, do you know what that means?

Let's put it in context thanks to an excellent summary of the vaccine trial data by Dr. Zoe Harcomb, PhD  that I found interesting.

Ideally, you want an antiviral vaccine to do two things.

1. Reduce the likelihood you will get severely ill and have to be hospitalized

2. Prevent infection and interrupt disease transmission

You might be surprised that neither of these are the stated objectives in any of the Covid vaccines.

They merely were focused on the detection of a positive test and at least one symptom of Covid and the comparison between those who took the vaccine and those who took the placebo.

In the Pfizer test there were about 18,000 in each arm of the testing (vaccine and placebo). Very few of those in the trials were over the age of 70 or had severe comorbidities.

Among the 18,000 who got the vaccine, 8 later tested positive for Covid and had at least one symptom. Among the placebo group, 162 tested positive at some point. The vaccine efficacy was stated to be 95% because 8/162=.05. This is where the 95% efficacy numbers came from.

However, Dr. Harcomb observes there is another way to look at this.

The tiny number of people who tested positive is striking. The revised Pfizer numbers could also be reported as 99.9% of people in the vaccine group and 99.1% of people in the placebo group didn’t test positive.

Does that have something to do with a natural human immune system?

Look at the Pfizer test results again. Over 36,000 people were in the vaccine trials. Only 170 tested positive at some point in both of the groups. 99.5% of the overall test group never tested positive.

Based on the data, 154 possible infections were avoided but it took 18,000 vaccines to accomplish that compared to the placebo.

This suggests that the vaccines might not be as effective as people think.

It would have been really interesting if the trials had just involved people in a household where another member already had Covid. This then could be compared to the household data above.

All of facts above also suggests that asymptomatic spread has been vastly exaggerated.

If the attack rate is less than 1% involving asymptomatic cases in a household living arrangement, the attack rate for casual contacts involving asymptomatic cases has to be basically zero.

The key rationale for masking, distancing, and lockdowns is allegedly to protect public health from significant transmission from people who don’t show symptoms. If the contagiousness of people without symptoms is not a significant factor in the spread of Covid why have we wrecked the economy, our schools and everything else?

Why then, have we also seen the virus spread despite all of the social distancing, masks, school closures and everything else?

My belief is that it has been caused because most people are not attuned to the varying symptoms that are related to Covid. Many people have not been educated about the symptoms so they go about their daily business when they should be isolating. This is also based on cultural experience where people generally have soldiered through illness that include colds, congestion, fatigue and low fevers.

What are the symptoms that accompany Covid?

Most have heard about fever, chills, dry cough and loss of taste and smell.

However, what about a headache, sore throat, mild nasal congestion, fatigue or diarrhea? These are all symptoms that also signal Covid.

Most of us have experienced the latter symptoms multiple times over the years and carry on with our normal lives expecting to be better in a day or two.

That day or two comes and goes and you are not better. Perhaps you develop a fever or a cough and start to think about Covid. At that point you have already been contagious for a few days and you haven't even had a Covid test. If you take the test and it takes another two days to get the results you are already almost half of the way through the period (10 days) when you are considered contagious with the disease. As this graph shows, it is also the period right before symptom onset up until day 5 that you are most highly infectious. 

Beginning isolation after receiving the positive Covid test is not going to do much good. The virus likely has already had the best opportunity to spread.

What do all these facts suggest to me?

We have made way too much out of asymptomatic spread.

We have focused way too much effort on concerns about spread outside of our homes, in outdoor venues and large indoor spaces.

We have not focused enough on crowded households and cramped spaces that are not well ventilated.

This graphic makes the point very well.

We have not spent enough time on educating people on all of the symptoms of Covid and stressing to the public that if you don't feel 100% you should isolate yourself as much as possible no matter what the symptoms are.

We have spent too much time locking down and quarantining the healthy and not focused enough time on isolating the sick.

We have put too much focus on Covid PCR tests and not enough time on actual symptoms. We have never done this with the flu or any other viral disease I know of. We typically have done about 1 million tests per year to diagnose the flu. We are currently doing about 1.5 million Covid tests per day.

We have oversold masks and undersold being more sensitive to our symptoms and those of other members of our household. After all, most people are not wearing masks in their own house where the risk is greatest for spreading the infection. Even then, the data suggests it is still no higher than 20% if symptoms are present and less than 1% if they are not.

We have oversold vaccines and undersold the benefits of fortifying our natural immune systems.

What about asymptomatic spread?

The facts suggest that it should be about tenth on a list of things to worry about with Covid.

If you believe strongly in the benefits of masks, you should be less concerned about states that are removing mandates and more focused on wearing one at home where it would likely be most effective.

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