Category: Science and the Media

Don’t use a COVID-19 vaccine, cry the antivaxxers, because of the horseshoe crab!

Antivaxxers are now urging vegans not to use a COVID-19 vaccine because blood from horseshoe crabs will be used in its manufacture. At its heart, this is no different than their weaponization of beliefs against other vaccine ingredients, except that it does use a germ of a good point that we should be looking for other ways to ensure that vaccines have...

/ September 7, 2020

Can “optimizing your metabolism” through diet prevent or cure COVID-19?

A favorite claim by those favoring "holistic" therapies is that using diet to "optimize metabolism" can prevent or treat COVID-19. These claims are of a piece with similar claims for many other diseases and are just as exaggerated.

/ August 31, 2020

HCQTrial.com: Astroturf and disinformation about hydroxychloroquine and COVID-19 on steroids

Late last week, a "study" published on HCQTrial.com by an anonymous source claiming to be a group of PhD scientists went viral. It claimed that countries that used hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 had a 79% lower fatality rate than those who didn't. It was horrible science and quickly debunked on Twitter by several epidemiologists. That didn't stop it from going viral. Disinformation...

/ August 10, 2020

The perils and pitfalls of “doing your own research” about COVID-19 (or any other science)

Ethan Siegel at Forbes argues that you "must not 'do your own research.'" While the title grates, Siegel is correct that most of us are not really capable of "doing our own research" about most scientific and medical questions because we lack the necessary background. We must therefore be humble and be very, very careful about "doing our own research."

/ August 3, 2020
Hydroxychloroquine

Hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19: Evidence can’t seem to kill it

Despite the accumulating negative evidence showing that hydroxychloroquine doesn't work against COVID-19, activists continue to promote it as a way out of the pandemic. This week, the AAPS and a Yale epidemiologist joined the fray with embarrassingly bad arguments.

/ July 27, 2020
COVID party

COVID-19 parties: Urban legend or real thing?

You've probably seen breathlessly scolding stories in the media about young people holding "COVID parties", in which attendees intentionally try to become infected with COVID-19. Are these parties really a thing, or are they an urban legend? The answer is not entirely clear yet, but current evidence (more specifically, the lack of evidence) for them is much more consistent with the latter...

/ July 13, 2020

Dry Drowning

What is dry drowning, and should we worry?

/ July 7, 2020
Del Bigtree

Antivaccine leader Del Bigtree on COVID-19: “Let’s catch this cold!” Why antivaxxers and coronavirus conspiracy theorists are often one in the same.

Last week, antivaccine activist Del Bigtree posted a rant denying the severity of COVID-19, blaming the chronically ill for having made themselves vulnerable to severe disease through their lifestyle choices, and urging the young and healthy to "catch this cold". His rant shows exactly why COVID-19 conspiracy theorists and antivaxxers have such an affinity for each other and have teamed up to...

/ June 22, 2020

Do face masks decrease the risk of COVID-19 transmission?

As wearing masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19 becomes a culture war issue, the evidence for whether they prevent transmission of COVID-19 remains contested. A new systematic review and meta-analysis provides the best evidence yet that social distancing and masks are highly effective at decreasing the risk of contracting coronavirus, while eye protection might also help, but it's not a slam...

/ June 8, 2020

An incomplete list of COVID-19 quackery

Possibly the only thing spreading faster than COVID-19 is the pseudoscience about COVID-19.

/ May 28, 2020