The Asian Voice

Perplexing questions about the pandemic: Statesman contributor

The writer says that the necessity for multiple RTPCR tests itself reveals its lack of credibility, yet the erratic tests continue being the basis for Covid-19 measures.

A medical worker arranges swab samples from the Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) tests conducted for the Covid-19 coronavirus screening at a testing centre in Hyderabad on April 29, 2021
A medical worker arranges swab samples from the Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) tests conducted for the Covid-19 coronavirus screening at a testing centre in Hyderabad on April 29, 2021PHOTO: AFP

NEW DELHI (THE STATESMAN/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - These challenging pandemic times throw up questions that perplex some of us: what is the truth about this pandemic?

Is it the official narrative put forth by most governments? Or is it the parallel narrative of grave questions that the media refuses to report and discuss but dismisses as "conspiracy theories"?

After 18 pandemic months, we do not know the truth about Covid19 that is unanimously accepted, including crucially among medical professionals.

Lack of clarity continues to cloud core Covid-19 issues: what is the origin of the Sars-CoV-2 virus? How reliable is the RT-PCR test around which the entire pandemic revolves?

How accurate are Covid-19 statistics, including those dead purportedly from this lethal respiratory condition? How factual are reports of hospitals and doctors being paid "incentives" to report Covid-19 deaths?

How necessary are the lockdowns meant to save millions of lives but is massmurdering livelihoods?

How safe are hastily concocted vaccines that have dark, deadly doubts swirling around them?

At the centre of such questions are billions in profits raked in by vaccine-selling pharmaceutical giants and online commerce behemoths with shops shut. As reported in The Statesman on 22 December 2020, "crime investigators say, 'Follow the money'. Following the money about who benefited most feeds concrete suspicions about the entire Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdown process to deal with it."

The core Covid-19 questions need to be urgently resolved given the enormity of suffering of billions of people worldwide - apart from perhaps all holding government jobs in administration, legislature, judiciary, police, that is those economically secure with their government salary, housing and government-sponsored medical care.

But remember, all government salaries are paid for with taxes wrenched from taxpayers prevented from earning money during lockdowns deemed necessary to save lives.

People and companies struggle to pay rent, electricity and Internet bills, but still have to pay taxes to ensure all those on government salaries and bonuses are paid in full.

I came across news of India's hardworking Prime Minister Narendra Modi having generously donated his life savings but have not come across news of government salaries being reduced to share the burden and suffering of people who pay those salaries.

So another core issue: those deciding, implementing lockdowns are not affected as much as billions of people.

For those in power and pandemic profiteers, this "second" Covid wave makes little or no difference, as will the curiously predicted "third" wave and perhaps further "waves" in a perpetual pandemic.

Another ugly issue arises: when considering billionaire profiteers and pandemic decision makers, sceptical journalists and discerning members of the public consider implications of the word "kickbacks."

For facts instead of suspicions, take the focal point of life-changing decisions made about this pandemic: the RT-PCR test. Its erratic nature is known but yet to be made the focus of a governmental or media study.

Technology billionaire Elon Musk, for instance, revealed last year that he had four Covid-19 tests the same day and came out with two positive and two negative tests.

The UK based Principia Scientific International reported on December 17 2020: "In a statement released on December 14, 2020, the World Health Organisation finally owned up to what 100,000s of doctors and medical professionals have been saying for months: the PCR test used to diagnose Covid-19 is a hit and miss process with way too many false positives."

The UN body is now clearly looking to distance itself from the fatally flawed test, the PSI journal declared, "as a growing number of lawsuits are processing through the courts exposing the insanity of relying on a test that even the inventor, Professor Kary B. Mullis said was never designed to diagnose diseases."

Prof Mullis coincidentally died before the pandemic began. Yet the "insanity" of the RT-PCR test is the basis of governmental decisions about the pandemic - the crippling lockdowns and travel restrictions.

How many of the 172 million Covid-19 cases reported worldwide and 28 million in India (as of 4 June) are 'false positives'?

The term 'false positive' is self explanatory, yet revelations about the RT-PCR test lottery appear more as news by-products than as proof. Cricketers in the suspended Indian Premier League this year, for instance, were subjected to three RTPCR tests. Why?

While leading cricketers and prominent citizens get multiple RTPCR tests, common people are not entitled to it.

The Delhi High Court wants to know why. The Hindu reported on 1 June of the Delhi High Court seeking a response from the Centre and Delhi government on a petition challenging the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) advisory on 4 May denying additional RT-PCR tests on those testing "positive" for Covid-19.

Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh issued a notice to the ICMR following advocate Karan Ahuja's petition, after he and his parents tested positive for Covid-19 on 28 April and were under home isolation for 17 days as per Delhi government guidelines.

He said Civil Defence guards outside his house asked for a negative Covid-19 report to allow him and his family to leave the house even to get essentials.

Mr Ahuja and his parents went to the nearest dispensary in Sultanpuri for another test on 18 May, but the medical staff refused it citing orders not to test those who had tested positive.

"This particular recommendation in the advisory has led to a virtual blanket ban on Covid-19 testing among patients who have already tested positive, which has led to several complications," the petition said.

The necessity for multiple RTPCR tests itself reveals its lack of credibility. Yet erratic RT-PCR tests continue being basis for Covid-19 measures like lockdowns that suspend fundamental rights of citizens.

In the obvious necessity to avoid risking lives, we also need consistency, clarity and common sense from governments, if not compassion, to reduce suffering and even suicides.

The Delhi High Court decision could be a forerunner for us to know the truth about Covid-19 - which like other truths cannot be hidden forever.

  • The writer is a senior, Mumbai-based journalist. The Statesman is a member of The Straits Times media partner Asia News Network, an alliance of 23 news media entities.