Despite never testing for COVID-19, Brock Ballou received multiple calls notifying him of his positive test.Â
When the Mount Joliet, Tennessee resident’s coworker tested positive for the novel coronavirus, he expected the first call from the state contact tracer. However, he never anticipated the information they were about to share.
Â“She specifically said Â– IÂ’m looking at it right here Â– you tested positive Â– this is a follow-up call to see how your symptoms are,Â” Ballou told WSMV-TV. Without any symptoms or have taken a test for COVID, he had tested positive. Even when asked if has misheard, he recalled, Â“IÂ’m 100 percent sure thatÂ’s what she said, she was looking right at it. She told me IÂ’m in the system Â– looking right at it that youÂ’re showing positive.Â”
Â Over the next two days, he received two more follow-up calls confirming his positive test.
Â“(The contact tracer) said IÂ’m still seeing that youÂ’re positive. Courtesy call Â– checking your symptoms,Â” Ballou said.
Ballou expressed his concern regarding the jarring disparity, stating Â“I said I donÂ’t know whatÂ’s going on, but itÂ’s wrong. IÂ’m just another number when IÂ’m not.Â”
The Tennessee Health Department confirmed they were investigating the discrepancy. Â“I can also tell you there is no concern with our count of cases in regard to our reporting of those who test positive,Â” the spokeswoman said. Â“Those entries are based on lab results, not on information provided from the monitoring team.Â”
It is worth noting no other disease in history has ever endured the level of sketchiness that has surrounded coronavirus. Of course, there should be no denial of its severity and appropriate measures such as mask-wearing and social distancing should not be ignored. But BallouÂ’s story inciting inflated case numbers does not seem to be unique, as seen in numerous other incidents of botched reporting, skepticizing the validity of the virusâ€™s true severity
In Florida, a state castigated by the media for its sudden spike, has also experienced the same phenomenon as Ballou. Local news stations continually alert state health officials of false positives from people who have never even been tested.
Â“How does someone test positive for coronavirus if they have never been tested? Reports of this happening have been pouring into Fox 35 News since we began investigating COVID-19 data,Â” a local news outlet wrote. Â“People are claiming they went to get tested but for various reasons, had to leave before they were swabbed.Â”
After traveling to a testing location, began the process of the forms and writing down their information, some people left before being testing, only to still test positive. Â“For [these] to come back positive, when there was no specimen submitted, is problematic,Â” said Gov. Ron DeSantis, Fox 13 Tampa Bay reported.
Florida has also become victim to some testing laboratories which have not been accurately reporting negative tests. As reported by the Florida State Health Department, at least two labs inflated positive rates by a factor of ten by not disclosing negative tests.
Â“Countless labs have reported a 100 percent positivity rate, which means every single person tested was positive. Other labs had very high positivity rates,Â”Â FOX 35Â explained Tuesday. For example, the Orlando VeteranÂ’s Medical CenterÂ’s positivity rate of 76% is actually only 6%. Orlando HealthÂ’s positivity rate is only 9.4%, not 98% as in the report.Â
Â“Although private and public laboratories are required to report positive and negative results to the state immediately, some have not,Â” FOX 35 reported. Â“Specifically, they said that some smaller, private labs were not reporting negative test result data to the state.Â”
Much earlier in the pandemic, states deliberately loosened their definitions of COVID-19 deaths, as Colorado had to reduce their death total by nearly three hundred at one point after the Colorado Department of Health and Environment concluded the stateÂ’s reporting included those who died with the virus but necessarily from COVID-19. In a move that could increase death totals by as much as 10%, Michigan has begun reporting Â“probableÂ” deaths, defined by the Â“death certificate lists COVID-19 disease as a cause of death or a significant condition contributing to death without a positive COVID-19 confirmed lab result,Â” according to state health spokesperson Lynn Sutfin.
In May, the Washington State Department of Health knowingly included multiple gunshot deaths in the COVID-19 death count. Katie Hutchinson, a DOH health statistics manager, admitted Â“we have about five deaths Â— less than five deaths Â— that we know of that are related to obvious other causes. In this case, they are from gunshot wounds.Â”
Furthermore, as reported by CNN in May, Â“CNN and 11 states acknowledge mixing results of viral and antibody tests.Â”
Â“The CDC says itÂ’s planning to separate those numbers in the coming weeks, but experts say the current method is unhelpful and potentially misleading. ThatÂ’s because antibody tests arenÂ’t used to diagnose current infection or determine whether someone is potentially contagious. Instead, they indicate whether someone has been exposed to the virus in the past,Â” further skewing case numbers.
These stories do not ever result from deaths from cancer or AlzheimerÂ’s or any other disease. Health scares such as AIDS or SARS never saw skewed data or falsified death numbers. Only coronavirus has tolerated inflating death and case numbers. As concerning as BallouÂ’s story may be, it may hint at something much deeper and much more insidious occurring.Â
Political Communications major at Illinois State University. Vince aut morire, my fellow patriots.