November 19, 2020
SCIENCE AND DATA ALERT! SEND IN THE MARINES
So, here’s a study that many perhaps haven’t seen. This study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine on November 11th so one can assume it’s legit. The article describes an experiment carried out on new Marine recruits whereby they were “locked down” as strictly as it appears human beings can be locked down with the interest of seeing how this total control of other people’s every breath would affect the spread of the coronavirus. The interesting highlights are as follows:
The public health program was implemented by the U.S. Marine Corps with the objective of mitigating infection among new recruits.
Potential recruits were instructed to quarantine at home for two weeks immediately before they traveled to campus. After they had completed the 14-day home quarantine, recruits presented to a local Military Entrance Processing Station, where a medical history was taken and a physical examination was performed. If potential recruits were deemed to be physically and mentally fit for enlistment, they were instructed to wear masks at all times and maintain social distancing of at least six feet during travel to the quarantine campus. At the end of the second, strictly supervised two-week quarantine on a closed campus, all recruits were required to have a negative qPCR result before they could enter Parris Island.
During the supervised quarantine, public health measures were enforced to suppress SARS-CoV-2 transmission… All recruits wore double-layered cloth masks at all times indoors and outdoors, except when sleeping or eating; practiced social distancing of at least 6 feet; were not allowed to leave campus; did not have access to personal electronics and other items that might contribute to surface transmission; and routinely washed their hands… All recruits cleaned their rooms daily, sanitized bathrooms after each use with bleach wipes, and ate preplated meals in a dining hall that was cleaned with bleach after each platoon had eaten. Most instruction and exercises were conducted outdoors. All movement of recruits was supervised, and unidirectional flow was implemented, with designated building entry and exit points to minimize contact among persons. All recruits, regardless of participation in the study, underwent daily temperature and symptom screening. Overlapping classes were housed in different dormitories and had different dining times and training schedules.
Instructors were also restricted to campus, were required to wear masks, were provided with preplated meals, and underwent daily temperature checks and symptom screening… Recruits and instructors were prohibited from interacting with campus support staff, such as janitorial and food-service personnel. After each class completed quarantine, a deep bleach cleaning of surfaces was performed in the bathrooms, showers, bedrooms, and hallways in the dormitories, and the dormitory remained unoccupied for at least 72 hours before reoccupancy.
All study participants and nonparticipants underwent daily screening that included temperature checks and oral reporting of symptoms; follow-up qPCR testing was performed if indicated by the surveillance check.
So, I think we can all agree, this is the type of lockdown that can only be the stuff of late night fantasies for many of our overlords. I’m not sure what more you could do to try to fend of the coming apocalypse. Now let’s take a look at the results.
At the time of enrollment, 16 of 1847 participants (0.9%) tested by means of qPCR were positive for SARS-CoV-2. The 16 participants with positive qPCR results reported that they had self-quarantined at home for 14 days before their arrival, had had no exposure to anyone with flulike symptoms, had had no respiratory distress or known SARS-CoV-2 infection, and had not visited a health care facility during the previous two weeks.
35 participants who had had negative qPCR results within the first two days after arrival at the campus became positive during the supervised quarantine. Of the 51 total participants who had at least one positive qPCR test, 22 had positive tests on more than one day.
All study participants and nonparticipants underwent daily screening that included temperature checks and oral reporting of symptoms; follow-up qPCR testing was performed if indicated by the surveillance check…however, no recruit with SARS-CoV-2 infection was identified as a result of this clinically indicated testing.
The study showed that in a group of predominantly young male military recruits, approximately 2% became positive for SARS-CoV-2, as determined by qPCR assay, during a two-week, strictly enforced quarantine. Most study participants with positive qPCR tests were asymptomatic, and all cases among participants and nonparticipants were identified as the result of scheduled testing rather than clinical qPCR testing performed as a result of daily screening.
So even with the strictest lockdown ever imagined, infections still occurred in a short period of time. By the way, neither the CDC nor the WHO had ever before even mentioned lockdowns/shutdowns in any publication ever. Next time we’ll take a look at what the WHO has to say in their own pandemic guidelines published just last October about all the things we’re doing now to fight this virus (spoiler alert: if you’re a mask/hand washing/contact-tracing crusader you might not like what they have to say). But I digress. Back to this Marine study - according to this study all that silly nonsense about taking your temperature and asking you if have had a fever, coughed, sneezed, or ever heard the word COVID in your life before you walked into your local hairdresser or dentist is apparently a waste of time.
What’s the point? As I’ve said many times, you cannot hide from a virus that is about 1/1000th the size of a human hair. And once again, let me be clear that I am not telling anyone not to wear a mask and gloves and face-shield while alone in your car, or not to wash your mail or yell at anyone who wants to pet your dog; you do you. I’m just suggesting that maybe the hysterical lengths to which many of us are going (and condemning others for not doing the same) to avoid a virus which currently has a population fatality rate of 0.08% (that’s eight one-hundredths of one percent) is somewhat misplaced. And maybe what everyone thinks they know about masks, hygiene, social distancing, lockdowns and the like simply isn’t what the actual SCIENCE AND DATA show. I understand many people need something to hold onto, something to believe in to help get them through this crisis, but sometimes doing something is worse than doing nothing (shout out Sweden).