Tag: coronavirus

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

Does convalescent plasma work against COVID-19? Who knows?

Last night, the FDA issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for convalescent plasma to treat COVID-19, even though there are no randomized clinical trials demonstrating efficacy and safety. Does this plasma work? Who knows? But that didn't stop the FDA from issuing the EUA, almost certainly as a result of intense political pressure from the Trump Administration.

/ August 24, 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-19

COVID-19 “super-spreaders” and “super-spreading events”: The controversy

Evidence is emerging suggesting that COVID-19 does not spread equally. A minority of infected individuals seem to spread the virus easily to many people, while most infected individuals spread it to few others or no one at all, likely through a combination of circumstance, environment, and possibly biology. Why is this, and what does it mean for coronavirus containment strategies?

/ July 20, 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
Sneeze COVID

Is COVID-19 transmitted by airborne aerosols?

A recurring debate about COVID-19 bubbled up late last week, when a group of scientists announced an as-yet unpublished open letter to the World Health Organization arguing that COVID-19 transmission is airborne and urging it to change its recommendations. What is this debate about, and, if coronavirus is airborne, should we be more scared?

/ July 6, 2020
Mask exemption

Misinformation and disinformation about facemasks and COVID-19

As evidence accumulates that facemasks work to decrease the risk of spreading COVID-19, new myths have arisen claiming that, not only do facemasks not work, but that they are actively harmful. These myths have no basis in physiology or chemistry, but that hasn't stopped anti-mask activists from using them to claim protection under the Americans With Disabilities Act.

/ June 29, 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