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Only 1 New Seasonal Flu Case in Maine in Last Two Weeks

 

By: David Deschesne

Fort Fairfield Journal

December 16, 2020

 

   While there were 3,233 “positive” cases of COVID-19 logged in Maine between November 22 thru December 6, the state only found 1 new positive case of seasonal flu during the same time period, according to data provided by the Maine Department of Health and Human Services.

   At no other time over the past five years’ worth of data was Maine’s weekly flu case count so low.  At a current Week 49 total for seasonal flu of just 17 cases so far this season, this is the lowest cumulative case total of the past five years.  The Maine DHHS recorded positive PCR cases for seasonal flu at the following levels during Week 49 throughout the state for the respective years:

 

2019:       211

2018:          66

2017:       217

2016:          34

2015:          31

 

   “I think COVID is going to cure seasonal flu this year,” one Fort Fairfield inhabitant facetiously predicted.  “We’re not going to have hardly any flu cases, we’ll have tons of COVID.”

   There are several possible reasons for this wide, 3,000:1 discrepancy between flu cases and COVID-19; 1.)  It could be an unprecedented low infection rate for seasonal flu this year; 2.) Hospitals are too focused on COVID-19 to pay much attention to testing for seasonal flu; and, the most likely reason, 3.) the PCR tests used to identify COVID-19 were hastily built, not tested for accuracy by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration before being deployed en masse, and according to the FDA were designed and put into use at a time when the actual SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) coronavirus hadn’t yet been isolated or purified. 

   Since the COVID-19 virus hadn’t been isolated or purified, scientists relied on finding what they believed were partial fragments of the new virus in some of the earliest patients in Wuhan, China, then extrapolated a RNA sequence using computer modeling to make a guess at the sequence they should be looking for by filling in the blanks with parts from other common coronaviruses, usually associated with the common cold.

   While there are cases of a brand new type of viral pneumonia due to the new virus, the excessively high PCR positive case counts may be attributed to a faulty test built around an errant computer model of the virus’ RNA sequence rather than actual infectious patients.  The PCR test kit Maine is using is also extremely sensitive and can detect non-infectious viral particles from infections that passed weeks ago.

   Another reason for the excessively high COVID-19 “positive” case numbers is Maine is counting specimens, not people.  That means if a person tests positive, then takes another test to confirm the first one and it comes back positive, Maine is counting those two tests as two separate positive cases rather than a single person testing positive twice.  This numbers-running trick  guarantees arbitrarily high case counts while concealing the number of people actually infected, which by nature of the statistics would be less than the overall positive case numbers.

    The good news is, according to an analysis of 51 research papers from around the world, written by Stanford University medical researcher, John Ioannidis and peer reviewed and accepted by the World Health Organization, the overall average Infection Fatality Rate globally for COVID-19 stands at 0.2% - or just slightly above the fatality rate for seasonal flu.