John Klar: Random testing needed to help determine when Vermont should end shutdown

By John Klar

It seems sensible to test sick people instead of healthy ones for coronavirus. But that sensibility goes out the window when trying to assess when Vermont (or other states) should take steps to “return to normal” — whatever that will look like after this massive shock to our economy. That’s because normalcy will be attained based not on how many people get sick or die, it will depend on how many people have recovered from the virus.

Lacking a cure for COVID-19, the best we can hope for is to manage health through preventive measures — but at some point we must also consider preventive measures against the threats to human health of a drastic economic contraction. Already many in Vermont are threatened with a reduction in food security — they can’t get healthy food. Virtually impossible to quantify, the adverse health effects of a deteriorating economy are also impossible to deny.

John Klar

Governor Scott says he will “take the blame” for putting the brakes on our economy too sharply, and that “as soon as the data shows a downward turn or trend we will open the spigot just one quarter of a turn at a time to get folks back to work in a measured way that’s responsible and safe. … Unfortunately, while it appears we’re leveling off, which is good news, we don’t have enough evidence at this point in time to show that the virus won’t spike.”

But the only way to gain that evidence is by random testing, which Vermont is not doing. Many of the infected population are asymptomatic, and so they go untested. Vermont has now received more testing kits from the federal government, and surely there is a process which can be created to learn what number of Vermonters have overcome the virus — this will help better than any other indicator to determine how fast that spigot can be turned open.

Governor Scott has been tight-fisted with that spigot of his. Unemployment claims weren’t flowing at all for weeks; farmers’ markets were closed down; firearms sellers still have not been provided clear guidance. And while the State of Vermont has refused to provide details of COVID-19 cases by town, it scurried to investigate whether there are racial disparities in suffering from COVID-19 (apparently not). Perhaps now it can assess random testing.

In order to safely return to work, Vermonters need to know how many people are walking around who have been exposed but are immune.

This information is also necessary to determine the mortality rate of the illness — presently, even that is uncertain. Serological testing is becoming available, and it is estimated that as few as 1,000 random tests nationally would likely provide enormous data. There are logistical hurdles, but Vermont can and should implement a random testing effort ASAP.

Finland is implementing a random test. As long as Vermont tests only sick people (and avoids testing healthcare workers), we will be flipping a coin as to when, and how much, that magic economy spigot turns. As one writer notes, “Identifying what proportion of the population has already been infected is key to making the right decisions about containment.”

Governor Scott insists hundreds of lives have been saved by his measures. But with that rationale, the spigot will stay closed until he is certain that no one will die from COVID-19 — and we will never be certain of how many lives are lost due to economic decline. Surely if the governor left all businesses open and people began to die, he could not argue that “by allowing people to get sick with COVID-19, we have saved hundreds of people’s lives who would have died from economic decline.” Both risks must be carefully assessed — hindsight is useless.

Randomized testing data would demonstrate whether or not the virus has truly declined, and this information is crucial to determine when to reopen Vermont. Our state has been truly fortunate to have avoided widespread illness, but many businesses will be irrevocably destroyed by the governor’s shutdown, and the longer this goes on the more casualties there will be. Food, housing, heat, and security are “social determinants of health” that are being threatened for all Vermonters.

Governor Scott must turn the testing spigot wide open, so that Vermont can resume its way of life as soon as humanly possible.

John Klar is an attorney and farmer residing in Brookfield, and former pastor of the First Congregational Church of Westfield. He is running for governor in 2020.

Image courtesy of Public domain

10 thoughts on “John Klar: Random testing needed to help determine when Vermont should end shutdown

  1. Personally refuse to legitimize this massive hoax w/its many lies, invasive privacy violations and tracing mandate of aquaintances, friends or fam. Unless I have a communicable disease which poses a deadly threat to others – I do not have to wear a mask, self quarantine or submit to questioning. And it is up to the vulnerable to stay away from potential threats not the 99.99% to stop working or imprisoned in home, closing businesses and schools. Nor must I prove I am well enough to leave my house by producing a “card”.

    Was and is a Red Chinese Communist Party-inspired global effort to end US prosperity, the worldwide uprising of faith-based sane ppl vs atheistic government officials and unelected bureaucrats butthurt at the massive loss power brokers have suffered. With Brexit a done deal adds more injury to the insult. What to do what to do…enlist sociopathic population killer Bill Gates and merry mayhem makers…whuich include Birx and Fauci? Facepalm.

    That said the tests are made in China lol? Inaccurate and provide false positives and negatives – it’s anyones guess if they work *at all*:
    White House adviser Navarro lashes out at China over ‘fake’ test kits
    Millions of Chinese-Made Coronavirus Tests Bought By British Government Don’t Work
    When physicians are violating the “Do no harm” oath all bets are off. Then taking marching orders from massively corrupt WHO and CDC a gamechanger.

    If I do not have symptoms I am not sick period. If Wuhan flu is found in my system doesn’t mean I ‘had it’ means I didn’t. Was exposed but immune system rejected the virus as it does all the time – its called immunity.

    And – there is no vaccine bc its a shapeshifting virus which is why there is no vaccine for the cold and flu vaccine not only doesn’t work but causes the flu – have heard several ppl claim they got it following flu shot. So will become another useless flu vaccine which doesn’t work but makes the developer and manufacturers wealthy.

  2. Testing is fine but as Dr. Fauci pointed out, tests are a snap shot of one’s condition at any given point in time and are no guarantee that the individuals testing negative today will test negative indefinitely. So, yes let’s test, but do it with our eyes open.

    • I know huh?

      Dr. Fauci says it will only be safe when we have a cure and vaccine. Yet our vaccines are only 47% effective to begin with and we don’t have a sure fire cure for the cold, the flue or pneumonia which is demonstrated every year by 200,000 to over a million people dying every year which proves we haven’t solved the current issues but somehow Dr. Fauci thinks this will be completely different.

      So yeah, perhaps we should wait at least 24 months, so Gates and Fauci can fill their pockets with money for a plan that has never worked to date.

      Follow the money…..yeah nobody want to use the $20 solution, cant’ get stinkin’ rich of that can we? But vaccinating and tagging a 7.8 billion people, even at a $1 profit per pop makes some people want to wait.

      Imagine that. Those who stand to make billions of dollars in one year want us to wait for them, to be our saviors. Follow the money.

  3. Both my wife and I think we had the virus about a week apart in early February, but cannot find a test which will show that to be true. We would be able to go out there and help other folks if we knew we had the virus and therefore are supposedly immune.

  4. Welcome to the “New Normal” – Societal Paralysis !

    My greatest fear is that “we” have set a new “standard” for protecting the state’s population. Won’t we hear a cry for another shutdown in the fall when the annual seasonal flu, that takes far more than the thirty or forty lost in the current event, threatens the population. What then ? Closed businesses, closed schools, cancelled elective medical procedures, elections by mail, legislative meetings in secret ?

    Pardon Me, but we live in a society where we are at risk every day – the speeding car, the criminal released without bail, the speeding orb at the baseball game, the tormented co-worker – we assume a degree of personal responsibility to be observant and prudent as we venture out into the cold harsh world !

    If we expect the government to protect us from every danger and risk then we must accept their command to “shelter at home” and to never roam !

    I choose to accept the risk and to roam free, Thank You !

    • Last year, by mid April, the state of Vermont lost just as many people to drug overdoses as we’ve lost to Wuhan Flu. The difference is our incompetent elected officials have added 80,000 people to the unemployed list. Great job.

      • Come now, isn’t a economic depression a cure for the flu? They are competent and excellent foot soldiers for the United nations, world health organization, the new world order and following the plan perfectly.

        The plan is creat chaos and collapse, then be the party that “saves” wveryone. Ans instantly you go from a constitutional republic to an oligarchy controlled by a few. In this case it looks like George soros, gates and Xi. ( funny how it aut corrects and capitalizes Xi.). Throw in a few stooges from Facebook, Twitter, and you’ve got your self a “perfect” little socialist country where the few pilfer from the many.

        People need to realize they aren’t Stupid, they are consciously doing what they are and having great success with it! They are getting rich and powerful tearing down our country. Which is stupid, but from a self serving position it’s very profitable.

        Interesting times for sure.

    • The ‘new normal’ will be challenged in SCOTUS if not at the state levels if for no other reasons than to reign in petty tyrants aka governors who are enjoying their power grab waaay too much.

  5. If they do the testing we can’t have fear and panic John!

    We can’t have a planned shut down and chaos. If we did immediate testing to determine the rate of mortality that Jim has so eloquently mentioned in previous posts we would have known the extent of the threat immediately, or at least within 30 days.

    This would have been the main focus of any who deals with respiratory epidemics. It would have determined the risk from the beginning. Anybody hear any news with regard to Brazil? They’ll tell us without spending any money. They didn’t shut things down.

  6. Thank you, John.

    There are two types of testing: one is PCR testing which tests for the presence of the virus and this tells us who has an active infection. Remarkably, many who are infected have no symptoms or only mild symptoms, as a test of homeless people in Boston has revealed: not one single person had symptoms.

    The other type of testing, equally important, is serological testing for antibodies, and this tells us who has had an infection. What this type of testing is telling us so far is that there are far, far more people who are infected than we originally thought, and nearly all of these people tested by serological testing had no symptoms or mild symptoms. All of the serological testing done so far confirms this. and

    The spin on the serological testing is that you could be infected by someone next to you who shows no symptoms whatsoever. But there’s another spin that’s more important: this disease is leaving the majority of people with no symptoms or mild symptoms. The implication of this is that since the number of infections is far greater than we thought, that means that the case fatality rate is far lower than we thought. It’s in fact in line with the case fatality rate for the flu.

    As we move forward, we need to keep in mind that the overwhelming evidence is that frail people with underlying conditions are Covid’s victims. The overwhelming evidence is that children and healthy adults are rarely felled by this disease: we can look at Vermont’s statistics and confirm this.

    Dr. John Ioannidis has long argued for a rational approach to this disease that doesn’t destroy our economy, and those who watch this recent interview will find him the paragon of reason and balance. Governor Scott should take his cues from the voices of reason and balance, and not from the voices of panic.

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