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CDC Alerts Labs to Use Tests That Can Differentiate Between COVID and Flu

CDC Alerts Labs to Use Tests That Can Differentiate Between COVID and Flu

Will there be a “flu season” in 2021? How many positive COVID tests in 2020 were in fact positive influenza tests?

At the end of last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a concerning laboratory alert.

The agency announced that after December 31, 2021, it will withdraw the request to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) of the CDC 2019-Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Real-Time RT-PCR Diagnostic Panel. The test came out in February 2020 to detect the SARS-CoV-2 (i.e., the coronavirus causing COVID019) only.

In preparation for this change, CDC recommends clinical laboratories and testing sites that have been using the CDC 2019-nCoV RT-PCR assay select and begin their transition to another FDA-authorized COVID-19 test. CDC encourages laboratories to consider adoption of a multiplexed method that can facilitate detection and differentiation of SARS-CoV-2 and influenza viruses. Such assays can facilitate continued testing for both influenza and SARS-CoV-2 and can save both time and resources as we head into influenza season. Laboratories and testing sites should validate and verify their selected assay within their facility before beginning clinical testing.

At the heart of the alert is a specific CDC-developed PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test to detect genetic material from a particular organism, such as a virus. The agency is stressing the need for multiple tests, including ones recommended by the CDC, which can look for both the coronavirus and various types of influenza at the same time. This offers a chance to do influenza surveillance and identify flu strains while testing for SARS-CoV-2(the virus that causes COVID-19).

It appears if the SARS-CoV-2-only test found only that pathogen, and if that was the only test done, then flu strains went undetected. The “flu season” impact is evident to anyone interested in looking at the data (emphasis mine).

The U.S. has reported more than 34.4 million cases of the coronavirus since the pandemic began in 2020 and more than 610,000 deaths.

But while cases of COVID-19 soared nationwide, hospitalizations and deaths caused by influenza dropped.

According to data released by the CDC earlier this month, influenza mortality rates were significantly lower throughout 2020 than previous years.

There were 646 deaths relating to the flu among adults reported in 2020, whereas in 2019 the CDC estimated that between 24,000 and 62,000 people died from influenza-related illnesses.

Additionally, there have been doctors sounding the alarm about PCR testing specifically. Katy Grimes of the California Glove interviewed three of them: Dr. Michael deBoisblanc, Dr. Pete Mazolewski, and Dr. Brian Hopkins explain:

“PCR testing has proven to be seriously flawed when used to track disease prevalence, and the number of false positive tests has contributed to fear, panic and unnecessary quarantine of many. The peer review of the original Corman-Drosten PCR paper points out the serious flaws and conflicts of interest in the original article describing the PCR test (Peter Borger Et al., 11/27/2020). This paper is the basis for the PCR test used in the United States. On January 21, 2021 the World Health Organization published direction on the interpretation of a positive PCR test. They now caution about calling a test “positive” without symptoms, a confirmatory test, and physician oversight. They also cite the serious problems with high cycle thresholds leading to a high number of false positives. In short, they agree with what we argued last month.”

“With this information, your COVID positive case numbers are highly suspect and using this data to determine which tier the population falls into has been, and continues to be, completely unreliable and arbitrary. Our recommendation is to move forward quickly with rapid antigen testing. These tests are less expensive, and more appropriately sensitive to detect people with active, contagious disease.”

However, officials pulled the emergency authorization only for one type of PCR test, and other brands will remain in use.

Jim McKinney, an FDA spokesman, told us in an email that to date, “the FDA has authorized more than 380 tests and sample collection kits to diagnose COVID-19, many of which are PCR tests. PCR tests are generally considered to be the ‘gold standard’ for COVID-19 diagnosis.”

“The FDA has not issued any statement questioning the reliability of PCR test results in general and will continue to consider authorization for validated PCR tests,” he added.

Dr. Michael Mina, a Harvard University assistant professor of epidemiology, told us that the CDC’s decision regarding its test made sense, given how the landscape has changed.

“CDC is likely going to pull its own EUA for its test because hundreds of other labs now have their own EUAs and CDC no longer even needs to use its own test since many companies now have EUAs for manufactured tests,” he said in an email. “The major Companies like Roche, Hologic, Abbott all have their own test kits and instruments. Then the ThermoFishers of the world have EUAs for their PCR kits that can be run in the exact same way as the CDC assay. So there really is no reason for CDC to retain their EUA.”

It sure will be fascinating to see what the flu season looks like this year.

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Comments

You mean the current PCR test is horribly unreliable and detects flu as C19? GASP! Who could have possibly known? (A: People who don’t just get their news from ABC/NBC/CBS/MSNBC/NPR….)

I suppose that makes the international flu death rate somewhat higher than the current .00001% reported.

    mark311 in reply to georgfelis. | July 27, 2021 at 11:41 am

    I don’t think you paid attention, the PCR test specifically does NOT detect flu and the proposal is to have additional testing to check people for multiple types of respiratory illness such as flu. This is because the symptoms for flu and covid an be very similar.

    With respect to False positive rates PCR tests are very good giving very few false negative results . In fact with respect to the UK (cant speak for the numerous US tests) the false positive rate is less than 4%. In actuality its the false negative rate that’s an issue in other words the missed genuine cases of covid which could be as high as 30% of all test results

    https://www.bmj.com/content/372/bmj.n287/rr

    You should note as well the difference in the death rates pre covid to covid. Compare 2019 to 2020 and you’ll see a very substantial increase in death rates.

    Last year, they were counting influenza to make up for the declining WuFlu infections. This year they are switching to counting the common cold.

      gwsjr425 in reply to Pasadena Phil. | July 27, 2021 at 1:14 pm

      It makes you wonder if COVID even killed anyone.

        No it doesn’t. Covid killed lots of people, just not as many as have been reported. I had it. I know how bad it hits. Elderly people got hit a lot harder than I did. Let’s not get into black helicopter territory here. At the most optimistic, C19 was ten times as lethal as the yearly flu, which killed a lot of old people every year anyway.

          caseoftheblues in reply to georgfelis. | July 27, 2021 at 2:59 pm

          Yes let’s NOT get i to black helicopter territory….NOT even close to 10× as deadly…

          Ironclaw in reply to georgfelis. | July 27, 2021 at 3:23 pm

          There’s actually no data to back up what you just said because we now know that the statistics they’ve been flogging to push panic, fear and paranoia for the past 2 years were complete and utter BS.

          Voyager in reply to georgfelis. | July 27, 2021 at 7:13 pm

          Wasn’t it also found out last year that the flu deaths statistics were also complete garbage?

          I seem to recall they were found to be a statistical analysis of deaths rather than a death certificate reading.

          Barry in reply to georgfelis. | July 28, 2021 at 2:01 am

          Sorry george, but we have no idea how many died from the scamChinaVirus. You certainly can’t trust our government to provide truthful information. Just like the flu and pneumonia complications give the last push to the old and sick, the scamChinaVirus likely does the same. They were dying, and the scamVirus might have took them a bit earlier, but most of them were going to be dead in a few months anyway.

          Barry in reply to georgfelis. | July 28, 2021 at 2:02 am

          Yep, it’s all garbage. Except the chinaVirusScam. That one is purposely designed to mislead.

          MattMusson in reply to georgfelis. | July 28, 2021 at 9:14 am

          It does make you wonder if all the people who caught COVID19 after they ‘already had it once’, never really had it the first time?

          And, did all the vaccinated individuals who caught COVID19 afterwards really have the disease?

          And, when Jon Rahm was forced to withdraw from The Memorial when he had a 6 shot lead, was he just screwed by an inaccurate test?

        geronl in reply to gwsjr425. | July 27, 2021 at 2:37 pm

        A lot of the people it “killed” were already weak and sick.

        gonzotx in reply to gwsjr425. | July 27, 2021 at 5:20 pm

        No many people died

        henrybowman in reply to gwsjr425. | July 27, 2021 at 5:22 pm

        According to the published stats, in the US, COVID killed about 375,000. In a normal year, “the flu” kills an average of just under 40,000. So yeah, COVID was a pretty bad flu.

        It’s always interesting to compare government “fear numbers,” though. “Our epidemic of gun violence” kills only about 10,000 people per year, a mere quarter of what our average flu season kills. The number you often see is 30,000, but 20,000 of those deaths are suicides, so when you point that out, the “gun violence” narrative falls on its face.

          Barry in reply to henrybowman. | July 28, 2021 at 2:05 am

          “So yeah, COVID was a pretty bad flu.”

          Not really. Every death with the flu present isn’t called a flu death. Every death that occurs within the boundaries of earth qualify as scamChinaVirus deaths, even motorcycle accidents.

          Aarradin in reply to henrybowman. | July 28, 2021 at 4:19 am

          40k is the low end of a mild flu season. Sometime’s its double that.

          And they didn’t just count Flu deaths as Covid, they counted 98% of Pneumonia deaths as well.

          Per CDC, Flu and Pneumonia are 55% of the “covid related” deaths that the media falsely reports as “covid deaths”.

          Another 11% of “covid related” deaths are listed by CDC under the category “Trauma and Accidental Poison Ingestion”. The majority of these are people that died in vehicle accidents, most of the rest are poison ingestion, and some are gunshot/knife/blunt instrument murder victims. Suicides are also listed in this category. But, they tested positive for Covid at some point in the previous year, or were merely presumed to have had it by the hospital that wanted that sweet, sweet, federal $$ for “treating” a Covid patient.

          Once you get through all the categories where Covid was not the actual cause of death, or even a contributing factor, you get to the <6% of "Covid-related" deaths where Covid was actually listed by the physician as the cause of death.

          You'll never hear any of the above from the mainstream media, but its right there in plain sight on the published charts at the CDC's website.

          CaptTee in reply to henrybowman. | July 28, 2021 at 2:26 pm

          For the decade before COVID-19 my county averaged 100 “influenza or pneumonia deaths”, with a range of plus or minus 3.
          It took almost the whole flu season for the COVID-19 death toll to reach 100, with no flu deaths.

    hrlsswndr in reply to georgfelis. | July 27, 2021 at 2:07 pm

    The article doesn’t suggest that the current PCR test detects flu as covid. It does suggest that the false positive rate of the test could cause someone who does have the flu to be diagnosed with covid if the provider doesn’t run a confirmatory test.
    The new test the CDC is recommending can detect both covid and flu while also being able to differentiate between them so, rather than running two separate tests, only one test is needed.

      Ironclaw in reply to hrlsswndr. | July 27, 2021 at 3:24 pm

      How often do you think they bothered using the 2nd test rather than just taking the positive test and cashing it in for a few thousand more dollars stolen from the taxpayer?

    Brave Sir Robbin in reply to georgfelis. | July 28, 2021 at 5:57 pm

    It does not detect flu as COVID. It simply gives false positive of COVID infection (the PCR test does not actually detect COVID infection) in a person with flu symptoms that is tested.

This likely explains where seasonal influenza went last winter – no place. It was hiding in positive “COVID” PCR tests. The official line on influenza, that it was defeated by the efforts taken to mitigate COVID, never made sense. Why would those efforts work against influenza, and fail against SARS-CoV-2? Well, that’s likely impossible, and the flu may have elevated the COVID casedemic numbers, as true positives, but for influenza, counting as COVID cases.

    henrybowman in reply to DaveGinOly. | July 27, 2021 at 5:24 pm

    The “official” just-plain-flu numbers for 2020 are not yet available. There’s usually about a year’s lag on that stuff. It should be interesting.

      Aarradin in reply to henrybowman. | July 28, 2021 at 4:23 am

      The reported numbers on 2020 Flu season show a 98% drop from the previous low. Which was half what the most recent high was, just a few years back.

      We’ll never know what the tests showed on 2020 Flu.

      We do know that there’s absolutely zero chance that reported >98% decline actually happened. So, the standard 40-80k people died from the Flu, they were simply all miscategorized as Covid deaths because it was an election year and Covid had to be made to be President Trump’s Katrina.

2smartforlibs | July 27, 2021 at 11:48 am

19-20 flu cases 38 million, 20-21 cases 1800. There’s you CDC data

When droplets of orange juice or fizzy drinks like coca-cola are placed on a lateral flow test it can produce a positive result because the acidity of the drink destroys the antibody proteins in the test.

And although it does not work every time, viral videos on Tik Tok and Instagram have been encouraging children across the UK to try the trick to get out of going to school.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9725379/Pupils-using-FRUIT-JUICE-false-positive-Covid-test-results.html

And now the CDC just essentially declared that the vaccines don’t work so everyone including the vaccinated must wear masks indoors.

https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2021/07/27/cdc-to-reverse-course-recommend-masks-for-vaccinated-people/

So can we expect the vaccinated to now focus their wrath on the non-vaccinated? That is what “the Fauche” and Gov. Hair Gel are doing by blaming whatever happens on people who refuse to get the vaccine.

Shouldn’t the blame rest with the fake doctors and fake scientists who pitched these vaccines in the first place? Why is it necessary to force the many health care personnel refusing to take the vaccine if it is so good? That’s like master chefs refusing to eat their own dishes. Either the vaccines works or they don’t.

This is insanity.

    CommoChief in reply to Pasadena Phil. | July 27, 2021 at 1:56 pm

    Phil,

    Yep. Hard to reconcile the vax mandates for VA employees, some other governmental employees and many healthcare workers with a parallel mask mandate for vaccinated people.

    Either the vax alone is adequate or it must be utilized in conjunction with a mask to be adequate. If vax + mask is necessary then the entire mask regime of 2020 was never adequate to provide protection, had no relationship to public health and was thus unlawful. Health decrees must have some evidentiary basis of effectiveness to be lawful.

    If the mask regime alone provided adequate public health protection then there isn’t a basis to support the mandatory vax regime.

    I am willing to allow the public health community to decide whether they were lying about mask effectiveness in 2020 or whether they are lying now. If they choose 2020 then they need to open their wallet and repay the damages they caused. If they choose now then they can simply tell the nervous nellies to calm down and trust the vax.

    Their choice.

    randian in reply to Pasadena Phil. | July 27, 2021 at 11:49 pm

    The Breitbart article also mentions that the city of Palm Beach reinstated its mask order for city-owned property, despite recording no deaths anywhere in Palm Beach county, not just the city, for 7 weeks, and is looking into mandating outdoor dining. If you know what Florida’s summers are like you know that will destroy restaurants in the city. The city of Coral Springs is doing likewise, “to limit the spread”. It didn’t work before, why expect it to work now?

    Brave Sir Robbin in reply to Pasadena Phil. | July 28, 2021 at 5:59 pm

    “And now the CDC just essentially declared that the vaccines don’t work so everyone including the vaccinated must wear masks indoors.”

    Yes, but wearing a mask is stupid.

    The only way they will get the “vaccine” hesitant to take the “vaccine” now will be via mandates. And if they are seen as not working, people will wonder why they are being forced to take it. A very, very, very bad policy.

Do we need a more clear admission that the numbers they’ve been flogging for the last couple of years to promote fear, panic and paranoia were all bullshit?

They shut down the world, cratered entire national economies, destroyed lives and livelihoods. All over a test they held out as the gold standard of diagnostic tests and they said it was our patriotic duty to subject ourselves to it. Anyone who questioned the test was a “conspiracy theorist,” not to be believed but shunned as a non-believer in science.

Now the CDC claims that this new test is reliable and can distinguish between COVID and the flu. They told us the last one was reliable! Why should we believe them now?

    zennyfan in reply to Idonttweet. | July 27, 2021 at 5:01 pm

    We shouldn’t. What once was the “gold standard” of epidemiology and infectious diseases runs labs where complacency replaced competency, and politics replaced science. First, the CDC rejected WHO’s off-the-shelf Covid test as not good enough and insisted on developing its own test — and promptly contaminated it in the quality control lab! Worse, it fumbled the investigation, until the FDA finally stepped in and found the problem. This set back testing for months. Now we find the CDC blew another test, an error with profound public-health implications. A reputation years in the making is in tatters; truth be told, the shoddiness was years in the making, too. The implications for the next China virus are not good, because only those who rely on sycophantic media will believe a word these “experts” say.

    henrybowman in reply to Idonttweet. | July 27, 2021 at 5:27 pm

    “All over a test they held out as the gold standard of diagnostic tests”

    …whose very inventor is on record long ago as saying it should NOT be used as a diagnostic test.

After 15+ months of every flu case being CoVid, it’s about time. Guess someone at CDC realized that Biden is the basement resident of the White House!

Sorry y;all – I m not getting the vax since my doctor cannot give me a good reason to do so. She was against me getting it because of previous allergic reactions that I had (sulfa, insects, food, etc). We agreed to wait for better info on newer vacs, but she changed her mind and told me to get the vax.. Because, and only that!

I am still waiting for better info… don’t think that I should just go into the vax center with the epipen and hope for no reaction when I still have some active allergic reaction going on in my body as indicated by hives. So I am not freaking out, just being logical. Once I get the hive reaction under control, I’ll consider getting the vax.

Some of us follow the science..

    Barry in reply to Liz. | July 28, 2021 at 2:11 am

    I nor my wife are getting the experimental and unproven shot. I’m 68 and not the least bit afraid of the scamvirus. We suspect we had it early on but it’s not a certainty. There is no reason for us to subject ourselves to an unknown.

    DSHornet in reply to Liz. | July 28, 2021 at 8:31 am

    “Some of us follow the science.” Yes! Thank you!

    The amount of almost accurate data and almost reliable opinions being thrown around is astounding. Why would anyone listen to someone who has questionable or nonexistent medical background on a topic as important as a pandemic? I remember enough from sixth grade health class and high school biology to follow most of the medical news and understand (as much as a layman can) what’s being said. After conversations with a dozen medical professionals, among them my own doctors and my daughter-in-law who is a nursing services manager in a large hospital, I didn’t hesitate to get the shots.

    You’re well advised to wait until any obvious allergic reaction calms down. It’s hard to beat being informed about your conditions. Too many don’t bother to research their own problems, which makes them open to misinformation. It’s disappointingly evident here.

    Screw the internet. Give me face-to-face conversations and reliable info from knowledgeable people.
    .

Why bother? 98% of Flu (and Pneumonia) deaths will continue to be counted as “Covid-related” deaths, just as they have been since this started.

Per CDC’s own mandate published in March 2020.

Yesterday, I was listening to Dr Kelly Victory on KABC (daily ritual) and she said something very interesting when asked about the FDA approving one of the vaccines in the next month or two which is expected. Dr Victory essentially responded by predicting it would be the end of these vaccines.

At the moment, the FDA has assumed no responsibility for the safety of these vaccines and the pharma companies are absolved from being sued do to the “emergency”. But once the FDA approves them (Pfizer is expected to be the first), they are certifying that they are safe. Here’s the problem.

In a normal year, approved vaccines are not expected to be 90-95% effective but neither are they allowed to kill people. In a normal, vaccines that kill 25-50 people are pulled off the market fast. The WuFly vaccines have already caused the deaths of thousands, I think the number was over 12,000 people. So how could they not pull them off of the market? How could they continue to bludgeon the non-vaccinated to get vaccinated?

Interesting…..

CDC: During September 27, 2020–May 22, 2021 in the United States, 1,899 (0.2%) of 1,081,671 clinical samples tested were positive for an influenza virus

Leslie Eastman: How many positive COVID tests in 2020 were in fact positive influenza tests?

None. SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID, is a coronavirus. The influenza virus is a completely different virus. What the CDC is proposing is the use of a single test that tests for both viruses. This will be a more efficient use of resources as the flu season approaches. In the last flu season, only 0.2% of tests for influenza were positive.

healthguyfsu | July 28, 2021 at 12:00 pm

This information is being misinterpreted in the article above.

All this means is that they run a two in one test that tests for both the flu AND COVID 19.

It does not mean that COVID 19 tests last year gave a false positive for a case of influenza. The viruses are nowhere near the same thing. The only thing they share is some symptoms that many infectious diseases, particularly of the respiratory variety, share.

    healthguyfsu in reply to healthguyfsu. | July 28, 2021 at 12:01 pm

    Where you should be looking is into the case counting that came without a test or the case counting that came with a test and a car accident or heart failure or something like that.

    Brave Sir Robbin in reply to healthguyfsu. | July 28, 2021 at 6:21 pm

    What was likely occurring was that people who presented for the flu were given a PCR test gave a false positive for COVID (actually, all PCR positives are in a sense false since it does not detect infection, but rather the presence of viral particles).Therefore. the person presenting wit the flu was associated with the PCR positive.

      Brave Sir Robbin: What was likely occurring was that people who presented for the flu were given a PCR test gave a false positive for COVID

      False positives for the PCR test are relatively rare. False negatives more common (usually because the person has not waited long enough or waited too long for the test for detection). See Böger et al., Systematic review with meta-analysis of the accuracy of diagnostic tests for COVID-19, American Journal of Infection Control 2021.

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