the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Trenton NJ, New Jersey leads the world in COVID deaths and the Governor continues contemplating potentially more devastating mandates to contain the spread of the coronavirus amid growing confusion about the accuracy of the daily numbers released by the Department of Health and the reliability and interpretation of virus testing.
Senator Joe Pennacchio and Senator Mike Doherty today expressed their frustration with the Administration after their respective letters to the health commissioner and Governor expressing doubts about the analysis of the commonly used PCR test failed to yield a response.
“Businesses are going bankrupt and closing their doors forever,” said Senator Pennacchio (R-26). “People are seeing their life savings evaporating, and the state’s confused approach is contributing to the mayhem. It defies logic that since the spring the state has not figured that the PCR cycling rate has a direct correlation to the intensity and the number of COVID infections.
“Studies have shown as much. Studies as far back as May from Oxford University concluded that the cycle rate of the PCR test should be used in establishing public health policy,” continued Pennacchio. “Is there any science besides political science being applied to the New Jersey’s pandemic policy? The state is ignoring the most important information yielded by the testing. Any reasonable person can see that testing protocol should not be one size fits all.”
Doherty implored Murphy to update the way positive COVID tests are reported to minimize unnecessary disruptions for state residents in a letter on Dec. 9.
“New Jerseyans have been subjected to Governor Murphy’s overbearing restrictions and quarantine orders that we were told not to question because the science was ‘undisputed,’” said Doherty (R-23). “There is a growing body of research from respected institutions, however, that clearly demonstrates that many people who test positive are not actually infectious. Further, they have shown how it’s possible to identify which positive results can be safely ignored without causing an unnecessary disruption to people’s lives. If Governor Murphy truly believes in the science and wants to do what’s right for New Jersey, he should do what Florida just did and update how positive COVID-19 results are reported.”
State health officials are relying on laboratory protocols that inflate COVID infection numbers to justify damaging public police edicts, Pennacchio and Doherty emphasized in their letters.
The most prominent method of detecting the presence of the coronavirus is Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR testing), which detects genetic material specific to the virus within days of infection. Considered the “gold standard” in COVID detection, the PCR tests utilizes a repetitive cycling process to magnify the viral matter with every cycle.
The test can help identify those who are infectious, and the results provide a measure of the viral load in the sample, in what is called the cycle threshold (Ct) value. It is the interpretation, or misinterpretation of the cycle threshold that could be influencing unnecessary restrictions with devastating consequences.
The Oxford report published by the Infectious Disease Society of America said, “We suggest that reporting this Ct value, or a calculated viral load, can aid in interpretation and clinical decisions.”
The report emphasized the relying on a test for a positive or negative result “may not be optimal because it assumes a positive PCR test is intended to mean infectivity,” which is not necessarily the case, as shown by high Ct values.
“Crucial decisions that are having a direct impact on lives are being made and the Administration is not using all of the data,” said Doherty. “The Governor wanted to see the science. It is right in front of him, but he refuses to see.”