Minneapolis, MN — In states across the country, health departments are launching COVID-19 antibody testing surveys. The stated goal of these surveys is to better understand how many people in the region have previously had COVID-19.
As part of the initiatives, teams of health officials, paramedics, and even members of fire departments are being dispatched across cities nationwide and going to random homes. When they visit a random home, they ask the resident to answer some survey questions and give a blood sample. This is to determine a number of people who have been infected in the past.
In Minnesota, tests like the one mentioned above are also taking place. Health officials are conducting random testing of households in 180 communities across Minnesota as part of a survey to better understand the spread of COVID-19. The Minnesota study, like the ones being carried out in other cities, is being done with the help of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Both the blood sample and the survey are entirely voluntary and no one is being forced to submit anything against their will. Testing like this will most certainly add a benefit to understanding the infection rate and spread of the virus and the fact that it is voluntary makes it that much more acceptable.
That being said, however, given the government's track record throughout history, even voluntary measures like this one have opened the door for abuse. A group of citizens in Minnesota have taken notice — and apparently, also taken up arms — in an effort to deter it.
According to the Pioneer Press, a team of state and federal health workers were recently confronted by armed residents while they were conducting random coronavirus testing in communities across Minnesota.
The incident came to light after at least two Twin Cities-area police departments posted an email from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety on their social media accounts.
“The households are randomly selected so examiners will be out knocking on doors,” the message says. “I am sending this email because a team of MDH and CDC examiners was recently confronted by a group of armed citizens while out in a neighborhood.”
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When confronted by the armed group, the team simply turned around and walked away and were not followed, according to a spokesperson.
“The incident was unfortunate,” Julie Bartkey, a spokeswoman for the Minnesota Department of Health said to the Pioneer Press. “The team did the right thing by leaving and notifying their study site coordinator of the situation.”
“The vast majority of neighborhoods have been friendly, but we will continue to monitor for concerns as we move through different areas of the state,” Bartkey said. “It could have been a simple misunderstanding, we simply don’t know.”
While confronting health department officials conducting COVID-19 surveys seems a bit extreme, the fact of the matter is that the United States is the last entity to trust when it comes to conducting studies.
Back in 2017, FEMA “inadvertently” exposed nearly 10,000 firefighters, paramedics and other responders to a deadly form of ricin during simulated bioterrorism response sessions. In 2015, it was discovered that an Army lab had been “mistakenly” shipping deadly anthrax to labs and defense contractors for a decade.
While these particular incidents have been dismissed as “accidents,” you don’t have to dig very deep or go very back in the nation’s history to uncover numerous cases in which the government deliberately conducted secret experiments on an unsuspecting populace—citizens and noncitizens alike—making healthy people sick by spraying them with chemicals, injecting them with infectious diseases and exposing them to airborne toxins.
At the time, the government reasoned that it was legitimate to experiment on people who did not have full rights in society such as prisoners, mental patients, and poor blacks.
In Alabama, for example, 600 black men with syphilis were allowed to suffer without proper medical treatment in order to study the natural progression of untreated syphilis. In California, older prisoners had testicles from livestock and from recently executed convicts implanted in them to test their virility. In Connecticut, mental patients were injected with hepatitis.
All of this was "voluntary."