We are writing this article through tears of frustration.
Posting on his blog, Lockdown Sceptics, Young shared a strange tale written by one of his readers, Nic Elliott, in which Elliott tested seven household items to see if they ‘had’ coronavirus, in a desperate attempt to discredit their reliability. Give us strength.
Elliott wrote: “I decided to order some lateral flow tests now that anyone can request to be regularly tested.”
Though tests are quite obviously used to determine whether someone has coronavirus or not, Elliott continued:
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“My aim – a simple testing of household available items to see what the results would be.”
Our tears are falling harder but, please, stick with us.
We’ve reported on people wasting lateral flow tests in the past, unbelievably. Fact checking group Full Fact were forced to release a somber statement to stop people ‘testing’ oranges, kiwi fruit and coca cola last month, and the NHS took to TikTok to dissuade someone who decided to smear hand sanitiser on it – wasting the test and the disinfectant in one fell swoop. Guys, if the NHS is going on TikTok, something has gone too far.
Elliott, for his part, tested water, tea and saliva – which he said came out negative.
“I decided at this point to get serious and brought out the Lee & Perrins [Worcestershire sauce],” he added – without an ounce of irony.
“This did give a void result, so it was time to bring out the big guns.”
Elliot then revealed that Pepsi Max, milk and mango chutney had all caused the lateral flow tests to show a ‘positive’ result for Covid.
Of course, breaking the tests by pouring food items containing a lot of acid on them, can give false positives, and these foodstuffs by no means have coronavirus, in case you were wondering...
Indeed, Dr Alexander Edwards, associate professor in Biomedical Technology at the University of Reading once told Full Fact: “If you completely ignore the manufacturer’s instructions or in fact use the test for something completely different, then you shouldn’t really be surprised if you get a silly result.”
But Toby Young, bless him, thought he and his friend – with their sample size of seven foodstuffs - were onto something and told his Twitter following they would “be amazed” by the results.
Thankfully, many were unconvinced and told him as much:
With the government now encouraging people to get tested two times a week to ensure people are not spreading the virus asymptomatically, we despair at the thought of more cranks and teenagers using them on fizzy drinks, condiments and drinks for absolutely no reason.
But it seems we will need to brace ourselves for more nonsense because, in a thought provoking parting shot, Elliott wrote: “Maybe the real bombshell is that COVID-19 is being spread though cola, cow’s milk and curry condiments.”
No, Elliott, it is not. And that’s about as much as we can take on the subject now, so please - stop wasting coronavirus tests.