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Dear Dr. Fauci: If You Are Following the Science, You Owe Us the Data Now

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, Pool

It is increasingly difficult to listen to the ramblings of Dr. Fauci, the man I contemptuously call the Mendacious Midget. However, there is one thing he has been saying incessantly for over a year that makes no sense if you have taken even an introductory microbiology class. Fauci’s proclamations about the asymptomatic spread of COVID-19 have caused healthy people to cower inside, cover their faces, and view their family and fellow citizens as bringers of doom.

Yet, here is Dr. Fauci with Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic explaining that asymptomatic spread has not been a driver of transmission in the entire history of respiratory viruses:

In June, Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, head of the WHO’s emerging diseases and zoonosis unit, agreed. After listening to countries that are doing detailed and robust contract tracing, she said, “From the data we have, it still seems to be rare that an asymptomatic person actually transmits onward to a secondary individual.”

Van Kerkhove was not talking about people who developed symptoms. She explained very carefully whom she was referring to. She spoke about the person who tested positive, usually as a contact of a COVID-19 patient, but never developed symptoms.

Her comments sent a frenzy throughout the media in the United States. Ultimately she said they were isolated studies. By this time, Fauci had reversed himself regarding masks and pushed the idea of the silent superspreader almost single-handedly. He had also become an unfalsifiable oracle, despite rarely giving any data or rationale for his proclamations.

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He told Americans they could have the virus in their nose and not know it, and then spread it to someone else. Of course, he always leaves out a crucial piece of information. A test can find viral RNA in your nose, but it has no way of determining if the debris is capable of replicating to cause infection and be transmitted. The RT-PCR test identifies that genes from the RNA of the virus are present. That is it.

So people have dutifully gone home, quarantined for 14 days, never had so much as a sniffle, and been told they had “asymptomatic COVID-19.” In reality, what they probably had was a normal immune response to the virus, and the test for COVID-19 was positive because it detected genes from the RNA strand. The CDC knows this is possible and stopped recommending the test in recovered patients for at least 90 days.

The dirty little secret is that this is what is happening to many people testing positive after vaccination who never have symptoms. Viral debris in their nasal passages is just a sign of a healthy immune response. Bill Maher is an excellent example, as are several Major League Baseball players.

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In December of 2020, researchers from the University of Florida performed a meta-analysis of 54 studies looking at household transmission published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. While they confirmed that COVID-19 is more contagious than other coronaviruses, they also found asymptomatic transmission was less than 1%:

The secondary attack rate for symptomatic index cases was 18.0% (95% CI 14.2%-22.1%), and the rate of asymptomatic and presymptomatic index cases was 0.7% (95% CI 0%-4.9%), “although there were few studies in the latter group.” The asymptomatic/presymptomatic secondary attack rate is not statistically different from zero, and the confidence interval is technically 0.7 ± 4.2, resulting in a range of -3.5%-4.9%, but attack rates cannot be negative, so it is truncated at 0.

This finding matched another December 2020 study from Wuhan, China:

A mass screening programme of more than 10 million residents of Wuhan, China, performed after SARS-CoV-2 was brought under control, has identified 300 asymptomatic cases of covid-19, none of which was infectious.

As a professor at Harvard Medical School, Martin Kulldorff, said in an epic thread about the twelve principles of public health that the experts abandoned during COVID-19:

Even worse, the World Health Organization has been clear. The RT-PCR tests are not diagnostic. They are an aid in diagnosis meant to be considered with other factors:

Most PCR assays are indicated as an aid for diagnosis, therefore, health care providers must consider any result in combination with timing of sampling, specimen type, assay specifics, clinical observations, patient history, confirmed status of any contacts, and epidemiological information.

Yet, the United States has used them in mass testing sites as a simple binary result for more than a year. Fauci knows this and so does the CDC since these practitioners use these tests for several viral illnesses. Public health has never deployed them to test asymptomatic people with no analysis by a healthcare provider.

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And here is Dr. Fauci with Jonathan Karl schlepping the same nonsense this weekend:

Finally, Dr. Scott Gottlieb is departing from the narrative. He told Face the Nation that Fauci and the CDC are getting their nasal swab data from Provincetown wrong. He said:

We know two things. First of all, nasophayngeal swabs the virus titers [amount] that you see in those swabs, while it’s suggestive of someone’s ability to spread the virus, it doesn’t prove that they’re able to spread the virus.

So it’s not a perfect correlate with your ability to transmit the virus and how contagious you are. You really want to measure virus levels in the lower respiratory because that’s where aerosols are created. And we know that you spread this virus through aerosols.

Here’s a nifty idea. Culture the nasal swabs of the vaccinated and see if the virus is capable of replicating. Do that for every vaccinated patient who tests positive. That would be the definitive word on how often a vaccinated individual is likely to transmit the virus. Fauci knows that. Genetic sequencing would be definitive about who the index or original case is.

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Dr. Fauci has been using the excuse of asymptomatic spread for over a year to terrify Americans, limit their freedom, and shame his ideological enemies. It is time for him to pony up the data. Americans deserve to see the virus genome sequencing that proves the virus travels from those who test positive and never become ill to another person with reasonable frequency. We deserve to see the viral cultures that the virus in these individuals’ noses can replicate and cause an infection in someone else.

Public health experts, including Fauci, have managed the entire pandemic in the tails of the distribution for every metric. Couching it as “rare” will no longer work. Public health experts must base decisions on what happens 80% of the time. Not what may occur 20% of the time or less.