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Legal-Ease: An Attorney’s Perspective: You Can’t Be ‘A Little Bit Pregnant’

By February 19, 2021March 25th, 2021No Comments

Judd Matsunaga, Esq.

What you’re about to read is extremely controversial. But before you write it off as some crazy, far-right conspiracy theory, consider the possibility that the Coronavirus pandemic is not as bad as we’ve been told. Donald Trump may have been telling the truth when he said, “Fake news.” The masks, social isolation and shutting down the economy may have all been a massive overreaction.

Thankfully, the JACL “strives to promote a world that honors diversity by respecting values of fairness, equality and social justice.” I’m hoping that some of the JACL community might find the information in this article helpful. It comes mostly from a New York Times article dated Aug. 29, 2020 (updated Jan. 19, 2021).

You’ve heard the phrase, “A little bit pregnant.” It means that the situation that is being described is “binary.” It is something that either IS or ISN’T.; there is no ambiguity or no gray area.

You can’t be “just a little bit” of certain things. That’s the way the government, the CDC and the mainstream news have treated Covid-19. So I, like everyone else, simply thought that’s the way things are with Covid-19 — you’re either “positive” or “negative.” You can’t be “a little bit positive.” Until I did some research.

Dr. Michael Mina, an epidemiologist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said, “The standard tests are diagnosing huge numbers of people who may be carrying relatively insignificant amounts of the virus. Tests authorized by the FDA provide only a yes-no answer to infection and will identify as positive patients with low amounts of virus in their bodies.”

In other words, when it comes to the coronavirus, you can be “a little bit pregnant” or “a little bit positive.” Most of these people are not likely to be contagious, and identifying them may contribute to bottlenecks that prevent those who are contagious from being found in time. If your coronavirus test is positive, maybe it shouldn’t be,” said Mina.

Let me explain. The most widely used diagnostic test for the new coronavirus is called a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test. Here’s how it works: A doctor or nurse swabs the inside of your nose for DNA. That DNA is put in a tube, packaged and sent off for further inspection. It then goes through the PCR test. PCR is a process that searches through your DNA.

What is it looking for? Simple — any evidence of a virus. It does this through a process called cycling (i.e., cycling thresholds or CT). Where it digs into your DNA until it finds the virus. Think of it like a magnifying glass. Each cycle zooms in further and further looking for trace amounts of the virus … until it finds one.

The fewer numbers of cycles needed to identify a virus, the stronger that virus is. If more cycles are needed, the virus is weak, almost like it’s not there at all. Most tests are set at 40 cycles, which means they search your DNA up to 40 times looking for the virus — and therein lies the problem. The test results don’t show you how many cycles it takes to identify the virus, it simply spits out a “yes or no” result.

“We’ve been using one type of data for everything, and that is just plus or minus — that’s all,” Dr. Mina said. “We’re using that for clinical diagnostics, for public health, for policy decision-making.” But yes-no isn’t good enough, he added. It’s the amount of virus that should dictate the infected patient’s next steps. “It’s really irresponsible, I think, to forgo the recognition that this is a quantitative issue,” Dr. Mina said.

Other experts raised similar concerns. Juliet Morrison, a virologist at the University of California, Riverside, said, “I’m shocked that people would think that 40 could represent a positive. Any test with a cycle threshold above 35 is too sensitive.” Scott Becker, executive director of the Association of Public Health Laboratories, said, “The number of people with positive results who aren’t infectious is particularly concerning.”

“It’s just kind of mind-blowing to me that people are not recording the C.T. values from all these tests — that they’re just returning a positive or a negative,” said Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at Columbia University in New York. “It would be useful information to know if somebody’s positive, whether they have a high viral load or a low viral load,” she added.

So, Trump might have been right after all. The tests could have been rigged to generate huge phony numbers, i.e., we have been getting fake news. You ask, “How could a scientific test spit out numbers that are all so wildly inaccurate? And how could all these so-called health experts miss this?” Think about it — Big Pharma companies stand to make billions of dollars off of a coronavirus vaccine.

In conclusion, whether or not you believe this information from the New York Times, you still need to protect yourself and others from Covid-19. And in the event you do receive a “positive” result from a coronavirus PCR test, remember it’s not a death sentence. Hopefully, all you have is a low viral load, you’re not contagious and you build up and strengthen your immunity system.

Judd Matsunaga is the founding attorney of Elder Law Services of California, a law firm that specializes in Medi-Cal Planning, Estate Planning and Probate. He can be contacted at (310) 348-2995 or  judd@elderlawcalifornia.com. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the view of the Pacific Citizen or constitute legal or tax advice and should not be treated as such.

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