Q&A – Are Cold & Flu Viruses Being Counted As COVID-19 Cases? Part 1

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Q&A Of The Day – Are Cold & Flu Viruses Being Counted As COVID-19 Cases? Part 1

Each day I feature a listener question sent by one of these methods. 

Email: brianmudd@iheartmedia.com

Parler & Twitter: @brianmuddradio 

Today’s entry: Good morning Brian, I was wondering why you are still reporting covid-19 numbers/ cases / deaths under a false premise? The PCR test cannot detect the difference between covid-19 the flu or the common cold which are all coronavirus. Even the inventor of the PCR test said that the test is not for diagnosing disease.

Bottom Line: Simply put, my reporting is not based on a false premise. I deal in facts not narratives and as much as I'd like for the numbers to be far lower than they have been that doesn't change reality, nor would I bend my coverage to fit a narrative on this topic any more than any other. One of the challenges I’ve consistently encountered informationally throughout the pandemic is the natural desire by many to seek information that fits a personal preference. That’s cut both ways over the past year and a half as I’ve heard from those who, channeling my inner DeSantis, are inclined towards being six-masked hermits who’re seemingly desirous locking everything down. I’ve also commonly heard from those who want to downplay the impact of COVID-19 and the potential efficacy of vaccines and masks. For those seeking a set position, yay or nay, I've not provided it because the facts don’t fit either narrative and they haven’t at any point during the pandemic. It’s not my intent to impugn, but to hit the reset button, as I address the question regarding the accuracy of the PCR tests. Are they perfect? Nope. Are they extremely accurate? Yes.

PCR, or Polymerase chain reaction tests, have been readily used since 1983 when biochemist Kary Mullis invented them. The tests are able to take small amounts of DNA and amplify them to the tune of millions and commonly billions of genetic copies to complete genetic sequencing. The tests have been readily improved as technology has improved and are currently used for disease testing - including HIV and tuberculosis in addition to the coronaviruses. Independent of diseases, PCR tests are used for finding genetic matches for organ transplants and is a key forensic tool used by law enforcement agencies. Most notably in that regard, the PCR technology has become so effective in recent years, many cold cases - including several from decades gone by - have been solved using its capabilities. This has been used to convict guilty parties in addition to exonerating the falsely accused. Many of these uses weren’t the specific purpose with which Kary Mullis intended but are nevertheless highly effective uses of the technology. It’s also important to note that the current tests today are built on the method Kary Mullis invented. Many breakthroughs improving upon the medical technology have occurred since the early 80’s. The analogy I’d used for those who’d suggest the PCR test wasn’t invented for the diagnosis of diseases, is that the wheel wasn’t invented for an automobile either. So, about the accuracy of the tests for COVID-19 detection. We’re precisely aware of how accurate they’ve been. I’ll pick up there in the second part of today’s Q&A.

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