Disputed

First a note about the video – As I’ve said I’m not good at this but if I don’t make the effort I have no chance of ever becoming any at it.

I have no objection to anything I write or say or share being questioned, actually I welcome it. I do object however to being censored or censured in discussions that do not defame or demean anyone and that seem to be to be perfectly legitimate.

Facebook posted a ‘false information’ notice on an article that I posted to the Conscious Compassionate Creative Conversation Group. They point to a critique of the article I had posted which is fair enough, that’s how we do things in the rational community, through argument and counter argument. What we don’t do however, and what I object to, is dissuade people from even considering one side of the argument. That’s what’s happening now. Seems a bit sinister, certainly controlling.

The article that I referenced concerns claims by an extremely well credentialled scientist

At the beginning of the article on HubPages we read:

Dr. Mike Yeadon, a former Vice President and Chief Science Officer for Pfizer for 16 years, says that half or even “almost all” of tests for COVID are false positives.

This is very badly phrased and I doubt Yeadon put it this way as what is intended is the contention that half of all positive tests are false positives.This is clarified later in the article where we read:

Of the PCR test, the prevalent COVID test used around the world, the authors write:

“more than half of the positives are likely to be false, potentially all of them.”

The authors explain that what the PCR test actually measures is “simply the presence of partial RNA sequences present in the intact virus,” which could be a piece of dead virus which cannot make the subject sick, and cannot be transmitted, and cannot make anyone else sick.

“…a true positive does not necessarily indicate the presence of viable virus. In limited studies to date, many researchers have shown that some subjects remain PCR-positive long after the ability to culture virus from swabs has disappeared. We term this a ‘cold positive’ (to distinguish it from a ‘hot positive’, someone actually infected with intact virus). The key point about ‘cold positives’ is that they are not ill, not symptomatic, not going to become symptomatic and, furthermore, are unable to infect others.”

Overall, Dr. Yeadon builds the case that any “second wave” of COVID, and any government case for lockdowns, given the well-known principles of epidemiology, will be entirely manufactured.

It appears that Yeadon distinguishes between false positives, true cold positives and true hot positives, with only the last being indicative of infection and infectiousness. I don’t know if he includes cold positives with false positives to make his argument (as I understand it) that given the relatively small number of infections indicated by the tests (less than 5%) it follows that even a relatively small number of false positives (apparently it’s 5%) implicit in the testing mechanism very significantly inflates the number of supposed infections.

I don’t know if I’ve explained this well but it makes sense to me.
The supposed refutation of the HubPages article in the Lead Stories article referenced by Facebook begins:

Is it true that the COVID-19 pandemic has ended, that false positives and rapid tests put the rate of infection near zero and that there will be no second wave of infections? No, none of those claims is true. Experts treating and researching COVID-19 say the claims by a former Pfizer scientist are not supported by the latest research. They warn a second wave is already showing itself in some countries and that false-positives among test results do not prove the pandemic is over.

This of course is not a refutation of Yeadon’s argument it is merely an assertion that other experts disagree with that argument.

Questioning the validity of the PCR tests is legitimate and, in his interview with Julia Hartley Brewer, Yeadon notes that the government itself is reviewing its practices to make the tests more accurate but is acting on data that it clearly considers questionable.We read in the Lead Stories article that:

On PCR testing, already addressed by Lessler, The Lancet published an article September 29, 2020, that estimates the tests are 95% accurate — though better testing to reach a “gold standard” is still needed — in the UK

This does not at all address Yeadon’s logical argument about the distorting effect of a 5% inaccuracy.

The second leg of Yeadon’s argument that sufficient herd immunity has been achieved is not addressed. Yeadon argues that pre-existing immunity to coronavirus type infections plus acquired immunity to covid-19 add up to sufficient population immunity to stop the spread of the virus. The Lead Stories article does not address his reasoning.

Yeadon has pointed out the flaws in the arguments and evidence (testing data and assumptions about immunity) used to predict a second wave. The most pertinent argument against Yeadon’s contentions is the slow but actual rise in recorded covid-19 related deaths and there should certainly be more focus on this but it is worth noting that there was a rise in deaths in the period 3 March to 9 April from 3 to 1,152 whereas in the slightly longer period between 1 September and 20 October the rise has been from 3 to 241.

All this is not an intellectual exercise. As Yeadon points out as a result of the focus on an expected second wave the government has made a choice to make the NHS less available than normal and there will be excess deaths as a result. There are of course other tremendous costs. It is crucial that there is examination of and discussion about that choice. It affects all of us so all of us should be able to have a mature discussion having access to different arguments. The active suppression of particular arguments and the erroneous labling of legitimate discourse as fake news should worry us deeply if we have any concern whatsoever about democracy, community and freedom of thought and discourse.