The Illusion of "Free" COVID Tests: A Deeper Dive Exposing Hidden Agendas
You have to wonder why the administration is sending out tests and not N95 masks.
It's important to take advantage of the free COVID-19 tests, but make sure that you understand there is a lot more happening beneath the surface of this apparently generous action.
Let's start this journey by accepting that if the government was intent on protecting people they could do much more by simply updating the CDC guidance to reflect the science and data.
They could do more by being open and clear regarding the “free” tests. Will they add a large warning sticker, reminding people to wait until 4 or 5 days from symptom onset to use the “free” test, or to take a second test 48 hours after a negative result?
Will they advertise the website for recording positive test results to aid monitoring and public health data? If they do, will the CDC incorporate it into the data they provide?
During the 2022 State of the Union Address, President Biden said, “If you’re immunocompromised or have some other vulnerability, we have treatments and free high-quality masks.”
None of the available monoclonal antibodies work against BA.2.86 and its sub-variants. Paxlovid efficacy has been significantly reduced and tens of millions can’t take Paxlovid due to other health conditions. Where are the free high quality masks?
If the government was being genuine and offering these tests in good faith, they could also offer to mail out free N-95 masks for adults and children.
While people order the “free” tests, it would be a great opportunity to provide information on the efficacy of N-95 masks or on the importance of preventing airborne transmission within schools, homes, or businesses by increasing ventilation and air filtration. Despite tons of supporting data and science, they aren’t actively promoting this.
The free tests look like a move to distract everyone from the need to protect themselves from infection in the first place. While focusing on vaccines and tests, our institutions are completely silent when it comes to airborne transmission of Covid. They're ignoring the science.
A study from January 2023 shows "Wearing of masks eliminated surface deposition and reduces the viral RNA in residual droplet nuclei which lends additional support to use of facemasks as a preventative measure in communities to reduce transmission."
“The vast majority of exhaled virions in both the supermarket and the passenger car remained entrained in the air until they were ventilated out of the space.”
Another study from July 2023 delves into airborne transmission within a high-rise building. The CDC a large study showing, “This demonstrates that when all students and staff participate in universal mask-wearing, transmission is reduced by 72%.”
Since they aren’t offering free high quality masks as we go into the 4th school year it appears as if they don’t want to remind people that COVID is airborne.
The CDC hasn’t updated the guidance to extend the isolation time beyond 5 days or to require a negative test to return to work or school despite the many studies showing people are most infectious for 8 to 10 days, with many still contagious well beyond that, going out to 20 +days.
A study published Sept 8th 2023, says “that participants exhaled an average of 80 SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA copies per minute during the first 8 days of infection, with significant variability both between and within individuals, including spikes over 800 copies a minute in some patients. After day 8, there was a steep drop to levels nearing the limit of detection, persisting for up to 20 days.”
This study says, “SARS-CoV-2 RNA was detected in exhaled air in 12 (24.5%) patients up to 23 days after symptom onset.”
A study from Oct 2022 says, “Rapid antigen test positivity remained high 5 days after symptom onset, supporting guidelines requiring a negative test to inform the length of the isolation period."
The free tests also look like a move to encourage unofficial, personal testing that happens under the government's radar. They're trying to reduce their liability. If they wanted to be transparent, they could add a flyer to the package and post on the ordering website, “Ensure you obtain a PCR test through your doctor. At the very least, take a picture of your positive at-home test result and save it. Keeping a record of all positive results could prove invaluable should you need to apply for disability insurance or Social Security Disability benefits. Claims often face denials without concrete proof of infection.”
Instead, most people don’t go to the doctor. Therefore, they don’t have a record at the doctor's office. They simply throw away the test so the positive result goes unrecorded, potentially absolving the government of monetary liability by making it challenging for individuals to prove their COVID-19 history when making a claim for Long COVID disability benefits. Sadly, this is the most likely reason for the government to send out the “free” tests.
Think about it.
What else does the government provide to everyone for free? You know the old saying, “nothing in life is free.” In economics, there is a concept known as "opportunity cost," which suggests that even when something is seemingly free, you must consider what you are giving up by choosing it. Let’s take a look at the numbers to see why the government would want to provide these tests.
In November of 2022 it was reported that "the Social Security Administration has identified about 40,000 disability claims. According to their spokesperson Nicole Tiggemann, that “includes indication of a COVID infection at some point." How many people with long COVID are among the more than 1 million disability claims awaiting processing by Social Security is unknown." How many more people are in need a year later?
The U.S. Census Bureau posted an update on their Household Pulse Survey for Aug 26 -Sept 4th, 2023. The website shows the "Percentage of adults who previously had COVID-19, with symptoms lasting 3 months or longer." They found that approximately 28% of U.S. Adults reported symptoms lasting 3 months or longer. In several states, the numbers rise over 34% of people reporting Long COVID symptoms. At least 15 U.S. States have more than 30% of people reporting Long COVID symptoms!
Altogether, the U.S. Census Bureau is reporting that 35 million people, excluding children, say that have had persistent COVID symptoms lasting 3 months or longer. That's roughly 1 in 10 adults.
This has a huge impact on education, work productivity, families & individuals' finances, and the whole economy. If a fraction of that number applied for disability insurance or Social Security Disability and had the proof required, it becomes a huge burden on the government and big insurance companies. Much, much higher than the $600,000 being spent to produce approximately 200 million “free” COVID tests. Keep in mind that it's taxpayer dollars they're using. So it’s costing taxpayers, not them.
According to the Social Security Administration's website, each disabled worker costs them approximately $11,000.00.
That's based on 2003 numbers. Let's use that, even if it's almost certainly higher now. If we imagine that just 10% of 35 million people applied for Social Security disability benefits in the next 6 months, that would be 3.5 million people. If we multiply the $11,000 by 3.5 million people, then the cost is $38.5 billion. Let's say that only 1% apply for disability.
That still adds up to $3.85 billion.
Based on these numbers, we can see a huge motive for the government to loophole the claims. They undoubtedly know the statistics. It's unlikely they don't realize these tests reduce their liability. It's also quite likely they figured out that people in lower-income situations will utilize the free tests without understanding what they're giving up by using them and not getting a test through their doctor's office.
This will disproportionately impact people without health insurance, since they're less likely to schedule a doctor's appointment and pay for a PCR. The administration also knows that Long COVID often takes months to become such a burden that people can’t work. Many people, particularly those who got the false negative test results, won’t connect the dots.
The administration seems to be counting on it.
Let’s look deeper into this from the government and corporate perspective. They understand that most people don’t know about waiting 4 to 5 days from symptom onset. They're probably hoping a large number of people will use the tests on the 2nd or 3rd day, without retesting.
More often than not, that will produce a negative result.
Since symptoms are mild in a large number of working-age people, the negative test sends them back to work or school. If it is positive, the unscientific guidance tells them to head back after just 5 days. That's another win if you don’t care about anyone's health.
If someone has a positive rapid test, it calms them down because now they know what they have, instead of worrying. As long as the symptoms don’t get worse, the vast majority of people won’t go to the doctor for another test to confirm it. From the government or corporate perspective, that reduces their liability.
They also probably understand that a certain percentage of the hundreds of thousands of infections every day will be mild at first. It'll take weeks or months to turn into long-term disabling conditions. A study from January 2023 concluded by saying, “This study revealed a high prevalence of persistent symptoms of COVID-19 in healthy individuals.”
Despite knowing this, we haven’t upgraded infection control standards in hospitals to mitigate COVID transmission. Not only are we putting patients' lives at risk, we're also risking the lives of healthcare workers.
To make matters worse, the CDC is looking to update infection control standards in hospitals. The Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee (HICPAC) is the body that advises the CDC on infection control in healthcare. Unbelievably, HICPAC is currently discussing drafts that weaken infection control policies.
Read more and sign onto a letter from the WHN that focuses on the prevention of airborne transmission here. The deadline for signatures on this letter was extended until October 13, 2023.
Remember, nothing in life is free.
When we look at it from a business or monetary perspective, then we can see that a $600 million investment in tests, at the beginning of every anticipated surge, is actually saving billions for the government and big insurance companies. Not only does it save money by preventing insurance claims, the tests and the CDC guidance help keep working parents from staying home with their kids and keeps them at their jobs. Millions of people are forced to work when they're sick. They don’t have the sick days to cover the time they should be taking off.
It's sickening to think that they would make decisions like this but let's face it, this is how things have gone for decades.
Corporations have put themselves in charge of public health. Corporations don't do anything for free unless it benefits them.
In the United States, where the government should be by the people and for the people, the influence of billionaires through SuperPACs, charities, and undisclosed funding sources has shifted the balance of control. These massive donations create an obligation for politicians, who rely on this funding to sustain their campaigns and, subsequently, their political careers. This dynamic allows politicians to cater to the wishes of billionaires for extended periods, making the billionaires' investments in politics even more valuable.
The free tests and likely reasons for providing them are just one of many examples of how the capitalist approach to healthcare and insurance has incentivized the degradation of society's health. Hopefully, it's clearer to see that these tests come at a huge societal cost.
Long-COVID sufferers and those who will join their ranks in the future bear the brunt of this cost. This puts immense strain on society, except for those at the very top who continue to pull the strings. We know they take mitigating transmission seriously for themselves and their children.
Despite substantial scientific evidence supporting the importance of mitigating airborne transmission, public health often neglects this aspect.
Well, politicians control public health. These politicians are heavily influenced by large donations from wealthy business owners and corporations. This situation raises critical questions about the integrity of our democratic system and the impact of money in politics.
In the 2022 State of the Union Address, President Biden declared, "We can end the shutdown of schools and businesses.
We have the tools we need."
But where are these tools?
Instead of equipping ourselves to combat the pandemic effectively, it seems that we've done quite the opposite. Monitoring efforts have been terminated, COVID dashboards have been removed. Nearly any effort to prevent airborne transmission is ignored. It's disconcerting to observe that, in many cases, schools seem to operate as if there's no cause for concern, no longer alerting parents when someone in a classroom tests positive for COVID. Schools are more forthcoming and take more precautions for lice.
Critical upgrades of HVAC systems have been neglected in schools and other essential spaces. The protections that were once in place to safeguard the most vulnerable in society have been dismantled.
There is a notable lack of effort to protect children, pregnant women, immunocompromised individuals, or older adults. Protecting people most at risk helps to protect everyone because some of the biggest evolutionary jumps have occurred in people who had persistent infections. Almost everyone who is hospitalized for any reason is at higher risk of becoming chronically infected. This is consistently being overlooked as airborne transmission is downplayed in healthcare settings.
Furthermore, the available treatments appear to be struggling against the evolving virus. A vaccine capable of halting infections, transmission, or long-term multi-organ infection and persistence remains elusive. COVID has become increasingly adept at suppressing the immune system and infecting organs, leading to less acute symptoms and increasing the odds of Long COVID. COVID is an insidious beast. It is very stealthy at destroying the quality of life for millions of people. This situation has left millions unemployed due to Long COVID, and the numbers continue to rise at an alarming rate.
If the government were transparent, sharing this vital information and providing the resources to mitigate transmission, the free tests could be viewed as a positive response to the pandemic. However, history shows that the words aren’t matching the actions. The lack of clarity leaves room for serious skepticism and deep concerns of deception.
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