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NEWS and BLOG

Too Many of the Wrong Tests and None of the Right

By Phil Kerpen

After an early bureaucratic disaster – the feds banned private sector tests and failed to deliver a test that worked – the U.S. has ramped up testing to astronomical levels, dwarfing the rest of the world and any historical comparison.  We average about 1.5 million tests per flu season, and we’ve now run over 57 million tests for SARS-CoV2.   But have all those tests delivered what proponents of mass testing promised?  Have they contained the spread and restored public confidence that infectious people are at home, not out and about?  Absolutely not.  In fact, by the time most test results are available, the people who were positive are no longer infectious.  The tests serve no actual infection control purpose.  And the tests that actually would make all the difference are still banned by the FDA.

The CDC reports that most infected people are no longer infectious six to ten days after symptom onset.  People with very severe disease can be infectious longer, up to 20 days — but people with severe disease aren’t waiting for a test result to find out if they are sick and self-isolate.  The CDC also reports, however, that even though they have never found live, infectious virus three weeks after symptom onset, the so-called gold standard PCR tests we have been using can show positive based on non-infectious viral debris for up to 12 weeks.  So the mass, industrial-scale testing we’re doing – with several days turnaround time – isn’t letting infectious people know they are positive quickly enough to alter their behavior.  And many of the positives are likely meaningless artifacts of months-old infections.  It feeds a mass public panic but accomplishes little else.

The tests that we actually need are instant tests that people could take themselves and get results in the morning, confidently going about their daily activities – work, school, leisure – knowing they are not infectious.  These tests, paper antigen tests, have been developed by a team at MIT that applied for FDA approval back in March.  There are several companies ready to mass produce them with FDA approval and unlike the PCR tests that cost around $100 per test, the paper antigen tests could cost as little as $2, making daily self-testing cost effective for most Americans.

In an astonishing display of government stupidity, the FDA’s objection to the paper antigen tests is based on precisely the characteristic that makes them vastly superior to the PCR tests – they are far less sensitive.  FDA has used the extreme sensitivity of the PCR tests as a benchmark and refused to issue emergency use authorizations for less sensitive tests.  But a test that is so sensitive that it picks up viral debris for months is not a useful tool to prevent infection.  A less sensitive test that is calibrated to show positive when a person is actually infectious is far more useful.  That makes the paper antigen tests not only cheaper and faster but better than the 57 million PCR tests that have become a national obsession.

From the beginning the FDA has made a total mess of testing.  Last week they finally introduced a new application for at-home testing.  They should approve applications from credible paper antigen test manufacturers as soon as possible – they really should have done it months ago.

***Just Do It Mr. President: Suspend the Payroll Tax***

The Phase 4 stimulus negotiations are a train wreck for GOP. There is no possible positive outcome. Except…this strategy could be a game-changer for the economy.

Our latest in today’s WSJ:

President Trump needs to reset the debate on the latest coronavirus relief bill. Senate Republicans have scuttled their best pro-growth idea—a payroll tax cut—and instead released a $1 trillion spending bill. Last week Mr. Trump acknowledged that compromising with Speaker Nancy Pelosi is a fool’s errand, because the House won’t agree to anything that boosts growth and job creation. The Democratic plan includes a six-month extension of the $600-a-week unemployment bonus and $3 trillion in new spending. It would sink the economy and imperil Mr. Trump’s re-election.

The president needs to pull an end run, and there’s a legal way to do that. He should declare a national economic emergency and announce that the Internal Revenue Service will immediately stop collecting the payroll tax. This is technically called a deferral of the tax payments.

The catch is that under any deferral, workers would still be on the hook for paying the taxes later. Or would they?

Mr. Trump could also pledge to sign a bill—now or after the new Congress takes office on Jan. 3—to forgive those repayments. That would make the election a referendum on middle-class taxes. Mr. Trump can give Americans a tax cut now, and sign it into law later.

Read the rest:

https://www.wsj.com/articles/how-trump-can-deliver-tax-relief-without-congress-11596396830?mod=opinion_lead_pos6

NYT-Hyped Korean Report Actually Shows Children Are Not Spreaders

Excerpt from The Federalist:

In an incredible redux of when they hyped the Christian Drosten fake paper which claimed children were highly infectious – when his math actually showed the opposite – the New York Times and Chicago Tribune pushed screaming headlines that a new Korean government report proves children age 10 to 19 are highly infectious.  The Korean government report, based on data from March and ignoring all of the newer research, does make that claim — with qualifications — in its narrative summary.   But its actual math shows exactly the opposite!  Do the elite newspapers even bother to consult anyone numerate?

As Professor Balloux of the UCL genetics institute immediately replied, the NYT writer completely misunderstood the report:
read more…

Founders 

Steve Moore 

Dr. Arthur B. Laffer

Steve Forbes

President

Phil Kerpen

Executive Director

Jon Decker

 ————————————

________

Moore

 

Stephen Moore

Club 4 Growth Founder, Heritage Economist, Wall Street Journal Writer

@StephenMoore

________

 

Laffer

Dr. Arthur B.  Laffer

Founder and Chairman of Laffer Associates

@LafferCenter

__________

 

 

forbes

Steve Forbes

Editor In Chief of Forbes Media

@SteveForbesCEO

__________

Phil Kerpen

Phil Kerpen is president of American Commitment, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of the 2011 book Democracy Denied.

@kerpen

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Welcome To The Committee To Unleash Prosperity

Subscribe to receive our updates-

Register for FREE to receive updates

______________________________________________________

Founders 

Steve Moore 

Dr. Arthur B. Laffer

Steve Forbes

President

Phil Kerpen

Executive Director

Jon Decker

 ————————————

________

Moore

 

Stephen Moore

Club 4 Growth Founder, Heritage Economist, Wall Street Journal Writer

@StephenMoore

________

 

Laffer

Dr. Arthur B.  Laffer

Founder and Chairman of Laffer Associates

@LafferCenter

__________

 

 

forbes

Steve Forbes

Editor In Chief of Forbes Media

@SteveForbesCEO

__________

Phil Kerpen

Phil Kerpen is president of American Commitment, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of the 2011 book Democracy Denied.

@kerpen

Register for FREE to receive updates

NEWS and BLOG

Too Many of the Wrong Tests and None of the Right

By Phil Kerpen

After an early bureaucratic disaster – the feds banned private sector tests and failed to deliver a test that worked – the U.S. has ramped up testing to astronomical levels, dwarfing the rest of the world and any historical comparison.  We average about 1.5 million tests per flu season, and we’ve now run over 57 million tests for SARS-CoV2.   But have all those tests delivered what proponents of mass testing promised?  Have they contained the spread and restored public confidence that infectious people are at home, not out and about?  Absolutely not.  In fact, by the time most test results are available, the people who were positive are no longer infectious.  The tests serve no actual infection control purpose.  And the tests that actually would make all the difference are still banned by the FDA.

The CDC reports that most infected people are no longer infectious six to ten days after symptom onset.  People with very severe disease can be infectious longer, up to 20 days — but people with severe disease aren’t waiting for a test result to find out if they are sick and self-isolate.  The CDC also reports, however, that even though they have never found live, infectious virus three weeks after symptom onset, the so-called gold standard PCR tests we have been using can show positive based on non-infectious viral debris for up to 12 weeks.  So the mass, industrial-scale testing we’re doing – with several days turnaround time – isn’t letting infectious people know they are positive quickly enough to alter their behavior.  And many of the positives are likely meaningless artifacts of months-old infections.  It feeds a mass public panic but accomplishes little else.

The tests that we actually need are instant tests that people could take themselves and get results in the morning, confidently going about their daily activities – work, school, leisure – knowing they are not infectious.  These tests, paper antigen tests, have been developed by a team at MIT that applied for FDA approval back in March.  There are several companies ready to mass produce them with FDA approval and unlike the PCR tests that cost around $100 per test, the paper antigen tests could cost as little as $2, making daily self-testing cost effective for most Americans.

In an astonishing display of government stupidity, the FDA’s objection to the paper antigen tests is based on precisely the characteristic that makes them vastly superior to the PCR tests – they are far less sensitive.  FDA has used the extreme sensitivity of the PCR tests as a benchmark and refused to issue emergency use authorizations for less sensitive tests.  But a test that is so sensitive that it picks up viral debris for months is not a useful tool to prevent infection.  A less sensitive test that is calibrated to show positive when a person is actually infectious is far more useful.  That makes the paper antigen tests not only cheaper and faster but better than the 57 million PCR tests that have become a national obsession.

From the beginning the FDA has made a total mess of testing.  Last week they finally introduced a new application for at-home testing.  They should approve applications from credible paper antigen test manufacturers as soon as possible – they really should have done it months ago.

***Just Do It Mr. President: Suspend the Payroll Tax***

The Phase 4 stimulus negotiations are a train wreck for GOP. There is no possible positive outcome. Except…this strategy could be a game-changer for the economy.

Our latest in today’s WSJ:

President Trump needs to reset the debate on the latest coronavirus relief bill. Senate Republicans have scuttled their best pro-growth idea—a payroll tax cut—and instead released a $1 trillion spending bill. Last week Mr. Trump acknowledged that compromising with Speaker Nancy Pelosi is a fool’s errand, because the House won’t agree to anything that boosts growth and job creation. The Democratic plan includes a six-month extension of the $600-a-week unemployment bonus and $3 trillion in new spending. It would sink the economy and imperil Mr. Trump’s re-election.

The president needs to pull an end run, and there’s a legal way to do that. He should declare a national economic emergency and announce that the Internal Revenue Service will immediately stop collecting the payroll tax. This is technically called a deferral of the tax payments.

The catch is that under any deferral, workers would still be on the hook for paying the taxes later. Or would they?

Mr. Trump could also pledge to sign a bill—now or after the new Congress takes office on Jan. 3—to forgive those repayments. That would make the election a referendum on middle-class taxes. Mr. Trump can give Americans a tax cut now, and sign it into law later.

Read the rest:

https://www.wsj.com/articles/how-trump-can-deliver-tax-relief-without-congress-11596396830?mod=opinion_lead_pos6

NYT-Hyped Korean Report Actually Shows Children Are Not Spreaders

Excerpt from The Federalist:

In an incredible redux of when they hyped the Christian Drosten fake paper which claimed children were highly infectious – when his math actually showed the opposite – the New York Times and Chicago Tribune pushed screaming headlines that a new Korean government report proves children age 10 to 19 are highly infectious.  The Korean government report, based on data from March and ignoring all of the newer research, does make that claim — with qualifications — in its narrative summary.   But its actual math shows exactly the opposite!  Do the elite newspapers even bother to consult anyone numerate?

As Professor Balloux of the UCL genetics institute immediately replied, the NYT writer completely misunderstood the report:
read more…

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