Category: Science and the Media

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
coronavirus

Antivaxxers launch a preemptive disinformation war against a COVID-19 vaccine that doesn’t yet exist

We don't yet have a vaccine against COVID-19, but that hasn't stopped the antivaccine movement from launching a preemptive disinformation war on social media against it. Unfortunately, as a recent study demonstrates, on Facebook at least, they have been so successful that it is possible that antivaccine messaging will surpass pro-vaccine messaging on FB within a decade.

/ May 25, 2020

NewsGuard identifies social media “super-spreaders” of COVID-19 misinformation

NewsGuard has identified "super-spreaders" of COVID-19 misinformation on Facebook and Twitter, including Dr. Joseph Mercola, the NVIC, Rush Limbaugh, and Ty Bollinger.

/ May 21, 2020

Medical conspiracy theories and COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has spawned almost innumerable conspiracy theories, and conspiracists like the antivaccine movement have joined forces with COVID-19 conspiracy theorists. To combat the proliferation of pseudoscience rooted in conspiracy theories, it is useful to step back and examine the nature of conspiracy theories, including ones that are not medical, even ones like QAnon. Critical thinking is the key to inoculating...

/ May 18, 2020
Plandemic and Judy Mikovits

Plandemic: Judy Mikovits and the mother of all COVID-19 conspiracy theories (some final thoughts)

Last Friday, I deconstructed Plandemic, a misinformation conspiracyfest of a video that went viral last week. It turns out that Judy Mikovits, the disgraced scientist featured in the video has even more conspiracy theories and misinformation up her sleeve.

/ May 11, 2020
Hydroxychloroquine

Hydroxychloroquine and the price of abandoning of science- and evidence-based medicine

Based on anecdotal evidence early in the pandemic and then-unreported clinical trials, followed by hype and bad studies by French "brave maverick doctor" Didier Raoult, antimalarial drugs hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine became the de facto standard of care for COVID-19, despite no rigorous evidence that they worked. A steady drip-drip-drip of negative studies has led doctors and health authorities to rethink and backtrack,...

/ April 27, 2020
5G tower

COVID-19 conspiracy theories: Vaccines and 5G (along with Bill Gates) are responsible!

The COVID-19 pandemic will almost certainly wind up being by far the worst pandemic we have experienced in a century. Given a huge pandemic with tragic death tolls, it's not surprising that conspiracy theories are popping up. Here, we look at two of the most common kinds of COVID-19 conspiracy theories. One blames 5G. The other blames—of course!—the flu vaccine.

/ April 6, 2020