Misinformation, Misconceptions, and Covid-19

in #biology3 years ago

By DariuszSankowski on pixabay.com

Earlier this week, I wrote an essay for class titled “How misinformation and a lack of public trust affect clinical trials during an epidemic”. Once it’s graded and I won’t get in trouble for plagiarising myself, I will share it here on Hive for you to read.
While writing this essay I realised that I actually wanted to write a different one with a very similar topic. In the current pandemic, there is a lot of information floating around, and many people getting it horribly wrong. I want to take a look at that, and its implications.

This will be less well-cited and edited than an essay because I’m doing it for fun and not to be graded on it, so bear with me.

What’s in a name?

nCoV19, SARS-CoV-2, Covid-19 (in a variety of spellings), coronavirus, there are many names floating around for the disease, and people don’t always seem sure what the correct one is. In a way, they all are.
nCoV19 was the original name for the virus, later changed to SARS-CoV-2, (Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus) a name that highlights its close relationship to SARS-CoV. Covid-19 stands for “coronavirus disease 2019”.

The easiest way to memorise this is by comparing it to HIV. Here, HIV is the virus (like SARS-CoV-2) and AIDS is the disease (like Covid-19). So you can say “The Covid-19 virus”, but you can’t say “The SARS-CoV-2 virus”.

So far so good.

The problem with misinformation
Twitter, Facebook, social media in general lead to a fast spread of information nowadays, especially during this pandemic. The problem is, in contrary to peer-reviewed papers, there is a lack of fact checking that can quickly get out of hand [1]. In addition to that, everyone is suddenly an expert and shares “their truth”. It’s normal, people want to spread information when things go sideways, and misinformation is simply shared alongside it [2].

That is relatively unproblematic until it actively harms people.

After Donald Trump endorsed using hydroxychloroquine against Covid-19, some people started self-medicating, overdosing, and as a result seriously damaging their health [3]. Trump is not a doctor, and I doubt that he listens to his advisors all that much. Because while hydroxychloroquine is implicated to work against viruses [4], the studies are insufficient so far.

And those who need hydroxychloroquine? Those with malaria, rheumatoid arthritis, and systemic lupus [5]? They might run out of their medication because suddenly it’s used for something else.

I will not go into detail about how much damage conspiracy theories about 5G mobile networks [6] and government involvement [7] can cause. This is more about misinformation in the general population.

Lack of scientific understanding and dangerous half-knowledge

Most people have some basic knowledge about scientific topics. They know about the immune system, they know how to stay healthy, they’ve read all the articles and now they’re convinced they know what it’s all about.

The problem is, in most cases they don’t.

Let’s take Trump as an example – again. Even though it hurts.

Here’s the quote I will talk about:

”So, supposing we hit the body with a tremendous, whether its ultraviolet or just very powerful light, and I think you said, that hasn't been checked but you're gonna test it. And then I said, supposing it brought the light inside the body, which you can either do either through the skin or some other way, and I think you said you're gonna test that too, sounds interesting. And I then I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in one minute, and is there a way you can do something like that by injection inside, or almost a cleaning. Because you see it gets in the lungs, and it does a tremendous number on the lungs. So it'd be interesting to check that.” [8]

Lots to unpack here.

Most media outlets immediately published headlines like “Trump suggests injecting bleach to cure Covid-19”. I can’t blame them; it sounds like this. And considering the general lack of intelligent statements from him, it does not seem so far off. But actually, he’s asking two questions:

  1. Can we use UV light or similar to kill the virus inside the body?
  2. Can we somehow disinfect the lungs?

These questions are still ridiculous to most people. But they illustrate a very basic problem: Lack of scientific understanding.

Humans look for patterns. They see that one thing works, and wonder if that can be applied to a different situation.

Yes! UV light kills a virus on a surface. Yes! Disinfectants do that too, very efficiently. No! You can’t just use that in the body.

And then they look at you, confused, and ask ”But why not?”.

I have encountered situations like this myself.

A few days ago, I argued with an anti-vaxxer on Facebook. She said that she wouldn’t want to receive the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine once its available. I tried to convince her that it’s a bad idea. And then she said two things that made me hesitate:

  1. “The fact that some people can’t receive the vaccine obviously shows that vaccines cause damage. I don’t have to be a doctor to see that!”
  2. “I prefer focusing on building a strong immune defence, instead of blocking it with vaccines.”

Here we have someone who understood some things but drew the wrong conclusions.

In immunosuppressed people, live virus vaccines are not recommended. Why? Because while a functioning immune system can deal with those easily, an immunosuppressed person can not [9]. Chemotherapy can make you lose already acquired immunity [10]. There are other reasons why people either can’t get vaccinated or why vaccines would be ineffective. This does not mean vaccines in general are harmful.

The second one baffled me, as I wondered why she would think that the vaccine would suppress the immune system. And then I remembered that I had explained the concept of a “cytokine storm” earlier. In a nutshell, a cytokine storm is an overreaction by the immune system. It produces a lot of communication chemicals (cytokines) to help fight the infection but ends up damaging the tissue. This is believed to be one of the main reasons for Covid-19 deaths [11]. Apparently, mentioning this made her think that a vaccine would aim to suppress this.

Which is not the case.

Vaccines train the body to recognise viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens based on their surface structure. It works very similar to a natural infection, just with either no or much, much lower risk of developing the actual disease. The usual processes happen, with the immune system building antibodies that fit the surface structure and then producing memory cells that remember how to make these antibodies. Once infection with the real pathogen happens, the immune system can react a lot faster and get rid of the virus before it has time to really take hold.

You don’t suppress the immune system, you teach it.

But the woman I was discussing with didn’t know that. She didn’t know how vaccines work, but she thought she did. And honestly, I can’t blame her! She didn’t study biology! For most other fields, it is not expected that people know how everything works.

You are not expected to know how programming works. You are not expected to know how the chemical reactions in the tank of your car work. Or why your computer is able to communicate with the rest of the internet. But for some reason, everyone is expected to understand health and the underlying biology. And that leads to problems.

Elitism and aggression

”How can they believe such a thing? They’re so stupid!”

Everyone I know is guilty of this. A friend messaged me yesterday, telling me their dad had covered his home office door with copper wire to keep the virus out. Why? Because he had read that copper kills it. We had a laugh. Then I thought about it.

That man was acting on the information he had and tried to protect himself. Can we really blame him?

For many people, the first reaction is to ridicule and shame people for being misinformed or misunderstanding things. They sometimes even get aggressive. But does that actually help? Will that change the misinformed person’s mind, or will that person feel hurt and reject the new information that has been presented?

I’d say in most cases, this is the wrong approach and will only lead to more problems.

Not everyone had the same access to education and information that you had.

Not everyone understands everything the same way you do.

Not everyone shares the same life experiences.

Why do you need to feel intellectually superior to someone who is only trying their best to stay healthy? Why do you need to feel better about yourself by putting someone else down?

Most of us are guilty of this, and I include myself. But the past can’t be changed, so it’s time to focus on the future.

How will you interact with people that believe misinformation? Attack them so that they never reach out for help again? Or explain the details in a way that they understand, so they can change their behaviour?

There are still many things about SARS-CoV-2 that we don’t understand.

We don’t know if there is lasting immunity after an infection.

We don’t know all the ways it affects the body, but more and more worrying symptoms are reported constantly, like it causing strokes in young people [12].

We don’t know if there will be a vaccine, and if yes when.

We just don’t know. And that’s stressful for all of us – including the researchers.

I invite you to share some misconceptions that you have encountered in the comments below, and you can also feel free to ask questions. I can’t promise to have an answer, but I will try my best to explain things – even if they are as “mundane” as how certain parts of the immune system work. Because it is not mundane, and science is hard.

  1. Rochwerg, B. et al. Misinformation During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Outbreak: How Knowledge Emerges From Noise. Critical Care Explorations | Society of Critical Care Medicine Journal 2, e0098 (2020).
  2. Miller, G. Researchers are tracking another pandemic, too—of coronavirus misinformation. Science | AAAS https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/03/researchers-are-tracking-another-epidemic-too-misinformation (2020).
  3. Owens, B. Excitement around hydroxychloroquine for treating COVID-19 causes challenges for rheumatology. The Lancet Rheumatology 0, (2020).
  4. Savarino, A., Trani, L. D., Donatelli, I., Cauda, R. & Cassone, A. New insights into the antiviral effects of chloroquine. The Lancet Infectious Diseases 6, 67–69 (2006).
  5. Fox, R. I. Mechanism of action of hydroxychloroquine as an antirheumatic drug. Seminars in Arthritis and Rheumatism 23, 82–91 (1993).
  6. Gallagher, C. Virus of Covid-19 conspiracy theories spreads to Ireland. The Irish Times (2020).
  7. Molter, V. & Webster, G. Coronavirus Conspiracy Claims: What’s Behind a Chinese Diplomat’s COVID-19 Misdirection. (2020).
  8. Panetta, G. See the full video and transcript of Trump suggesting disinfectant might be injected as a coronavirus cure. Business Insider (2020).
  9. Arvas, A. Vaccination in patients with immunosuppression. Turk Pediatri Ars 49, 181–185 (2014).
  10. Zignol, M. et al. Assessment of humoral immunity to poliomyelitis, tetanus, hepatitis B, measles, rubella, and mumps in children after chemotherapy. Cancer 101, 635–641 (2004).
  11. Bonenberger, A. Looking Out for Cytokine Storms. Research, Clinical & Data Driven Responses to COVID-19 (2020).
  12. Woodward, A. 5 young New Yorkers with mild COVID-19 cases were recently hospitalized with strokes. Doctors say the coronavirus can cause blood clots. Business Insider (2020).

Signature by @atopy


A great sum-up. Can you say sum-up?

One thing which is terrible in people that quite many people who have had access to all the information we have, but they've decided to ignore it. They ignore the things given us as clear as possible, but they decide to listen to their yoga teacher Karen in a shady FB-group who's saying that vaccines are bad.


The problem here is that science often doesn't give you clear cut answers, but Karen does. Do X and you are safe. And our brains love easy, black/white solutions to complicated problems, which is what a lot of media is exploiting by summarization a complicated topic into a clickbait, possibly wrong conclusion.

I'm personally not sure how to best solve this, but I'm sure @suesa has more insights here than me :)

Make actual science sound more clickbait?

Disguise yourself as a Karen and start educating!

Do I have to cut my hair or do you think a wig will do?

A cheap wig will only work for your advantage.

You're 100% right on that, science rarely gives clear cut answers. I do know how right you're on that, it's clearly pointed how some people believe in their personal experiences far more than science. They often believe even other peoples personal experiences more.

"I was drinking wine all night and then drove home. It proves that drinking and driving is not dangerous."

"I ate cheese one morning and my car broke down. This proves that cheese can harm your car."

All we can do is to spread knowledge and hope more and more people will learn.

A few days ago, I argued with an anti-vaxxer on Facebook.

I admire your courage to do that. Yesterday I heard something along the lines of this in the Austrian radio: "At no time anyone in this world said 'That was worth it!' after having an argument on Facebook" (It was some comedian - I don't know who though)

nCoV19, SARS-CoV-2, Covid-19 (in a variety of spellings), coronavirus, there are many names floating around for the disease, and people don’t always seem sure what the correct one is. In a way, they all are.
nCoV19 was the original name for the virus, later changed to SARS-CoV-2, (Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus) a name that highlights its close relationship to SARS-CoV. Covid-19 stands for “coronavirus disease 2019”.

I got a letter (a PDF per E-Mail) by the Austrian government which started with "Dear xy, the Coronavirus (Covid-19)...". Something like that really irks me. xD

Regarding Trump: while I agree with you that what he said was after all probably an attempt to help solve that problem, he should have had thought about it for a second, and asked one (or many) of his advisors if this is actually a viable thing to do. He is after all the head of a state of about 300 Million People, and as such he has certain responsibilities. While it would probably be funny to see him say that I can't laugh at that knowing that there are people who blindly follow what he says (seems like a hard thing to do regarding how often he contradicts himself) and that he in a way actually is risking his citizens' lives by saying such bullsh*t.

"The fact that some people can’t receive the vaccine obviously shows that vaccines cause damage."

I probably would've answered that with mentioning allergies and intolerances, since those are somewhat similar ;-)

When I got to the direct Trump quote about the UV light and injecting cleaners, I started to laugh out loud. You made a great point about how judgemental we can be, but that doesn't mean I'll apologise for laughing at Trump. The man deserves all the ridicule he can get.

You know why? It's not because he entertains his imagination that we could just inject bleach or take some kind of subcutaneous UV light bath. If someone thought of that, that's not alone a reason to ridicule them unless we're some kind of arseholes (and sometimes, we really are). Really though, as cringey as it may sound to people who understand why that's ridiculous, all it shows is a lack of domain knowledge coupled with a propensity for critical thought.

Trump and others shouldn't be ridiculed for not having domain knowledge... but they should be ridiculed, I believe, for refusing to recognise that fact and keeping their mouth shut, at least in public or while acting officially. That's what sets Trump (and others like him, though I think he's the worst I've ever seen) apart from the simply ignorant or unintelligent. It's extremely dangerous for someone so powerful to be so confident speaking publicly on a topic he has zero knowledge about.

I invite you to share some misconceptions that you have encountered in the comments below, and you can also feel free to ask questions.

Gladly! Actually, I'm not sure if I actually have the misconception myself! I've talked with people who seem (to me) varying degrees of paranoid about the virus's lifespan on surfaces. Some are reluctant to touch their face after touching something else, some go as far as to avoid ordering things in the mail or ordering food delivered because there may be viruses on the packaging. I have even read stories online about people who shower and change their clothes immediately after an outing to the grocery store. That one definitely seems like overkill to me, or at least extremely unlikely to actually do anything meaningful when compared against the fact that this thing is flying around in the air all around us.

Now, I am applying a bit of a moral code to my own actions here. Since I recognise that I am not an expert, I am wearing facial coverings when going out, I am refraining from touching my face, and I generally try to minimise all forms of direct or indirect contact with others. I'm doing this for their sake, not mine, since I don't actually believe I'm doing anything really effective, and I actually believe that I have either already contracted the virus, or that I will inevitably get it (I lean more toward the former).

On to reasoning: to me, my risk from handling a box or other packaging, touching my face, walking around in clothes I wore outside... they all just seem so negligible when compared against catching it by... you know, breathing it in. I've also read that breathing it in is the only way you'll really catch this (please correct me if I am wrong, but I read a comment somewhere saying we don't have to worry about food because eating the coronavirus won't give us COVID-19).

Anyway... I'm following all the guidelines anyway because they don't hurt anyone and might actually be helping. But, how terribly wrong am I and how?

Oh, laugh about trump, he's the head of a country and should either know better or listen to his advisors. I was mostly referring to average people.

About the surface survival ... that's actually a thing.

My (granted, superficial) dive into the literature has provided no exact time frames of how long the virus survives on surfaces, but it can easily be hours to days. There's a paper in which they checked where a patient left virus particles.

SARS-CoV-2 needs the ACE2 receptor, which is found a lot on the surface of cells in the respiratory tract (a review paper on that), so the general consensus is that it needs to somehow enter that (nose, mouth). However, I need to repeat that we don't know everything yet, so I wouldn't 100% rely on that.

Bottom line: Completely changing your clothes after shopping might be overkill. Touching groceries and packages might actually be risky, but I honestly don't have the patience to sanitise everything I buy. I try to minimise the number of things I touch outside, try not to come too close to people, and sanitise my hands if I have to touch something.

should either know better or listen to his advisors

I think that, for a politician, knowing better takes the form of listening to their advisors. That's the most frustrating thing about the whole thing. He listens to his advisors as long as their answers fall in line with his narrative; otherwise, they may as well be speaking to a wall and it'll probably not be long before they're fired and replaced with a yes-person.

the general consensus is that it needs to somehow enter that (nose, mouth) [...] I wouldn't 100% rely on that.

I absolutely will not, but it's good to hear it from someone who knows more than I do. Like I said, I'm living a sort of mismatched approach from what actually makes sense to me. Unlike some world leaders, I'm not so arrogant to risk others' lives on my own misplaced confidence.

Thank you so much for your response!

Great write-up. So much misinformation out there. It's difficult to be the voice of reason on Facebook and elsewhere with all the re-posting without people taking the proper time to understand what they are posting. It's such a misinformation mill. Problem I also see as we extend the lock-downs, is the complacency and people letting down their guard - and don't get me started on these dimwit protesters. Just shake my head. So much that we still do not understand about the human immunological response and COVID-19's pathways, not to mention the whole immunity discussion as well. Public statements by some politicians do not help.

Not a misconception or misinformation, maybe more lack of information. A pretty big issue I see is people just not knowing how to maintain a sterile field. Sure, put on PPE but don't pull your face mask down to answer your open phone that you are holding in your gloved hands. Should have some public announcement or commercial on the basics.

Haha oh boy I agree with the PPE thing.

Went grocery shopping today. Kept my distance, disinfected stuff I knew is touched by everyone, kept my hands clean too.

Watched the guy in front of me (wearing gloves) use his phone and hand the cashier cash to pay. The cashier didn't wear gloves and touched all my stuff with the same hands.

Then outside, people wearing masks that don't cover their noses. People touching their face with gloved hands. It's everywhere.

Yes, almost my exact experience too. We do disinfect pretty well everything that comes into the house... especially deliveries to my Octogenarian father-in-law. Our normal 1 hour grocery shopping outing is now 3 hours... just requires a bit more planning and coordination.

But the PPE ... makes me want to stop and give lessons.

Sehr schöner Artikel und auch schön hier auf HIVE von Dir zu lesen. Ich glaube ein generelles Problem bei der Vermittlung von klinischer Forschung ist der Punkt das Ihre Ergebnisse uns nur Eintrittswahrscheinlichkeiten liefern und daher keine absoluten Aussagen den Einzelfall betreffend geben können. Ganz individuell steht aber diese Frage; Wird es mir (meinem Vater, meiner Tante, diesem Patienten etc) helfen oder wird es schaden im Vordergrund. Durch die persönliche Überbewertung von (seltenen) Gefahren gegenüber regelhaftem Nutzen entfernen wir alle uns all zu schnell emotional vom statistisch zu erwartenden Ergebnis. Interessanterweise gibt es auch den gegenteiligen Effekt bei dem vermeintlich harmlose (weil bekannte, emotionalisierte, oder von Vertrauenspersonen empfohlene) (Haus)Mittel allein durch anekdotische Evidenz (hat beim Schwager eines Freundes sofort geholfen) und eine einfache Geschichte (innere Desinfektion, die die nützlichen Bakterien überleben lässt 🙄) mehr Heilungsglauben erzeugen, als jede noch so gut gemachte Studie. Dort werden dann hohe Risiken mit großer Hoffnung eingegangen. Diese Diskussionen lassen mich stets ratlos zurück. Ich finde gut das Du Dich ihnen stellst!

Ich stimme dir zu, es ist einfacher dem Bekannten und Einfachen zu folgen als in Statistiken zu vertrauen die man eventuell nicht mal versteht. Das ist genau der Punkt an dem Wissenschaftler ansetzen müssen um die Sachverhalte möglichst einfach und verständlich zu vermitteln.

Ich finde es auch oft schwierig diese Diskussionen zu führen. Man muss meist unterscheiden zwischen den Personen die tatsächlich bereit sind neue Informationen aufzunehmen, und denen die einfach nur ihre Meinung durchsetzen wollen - letztere sind ein hoffnungsloser Fall. Aber hoffnungslose Fälle können gefährlich für die Anderen sein.

Da ich als Immunologin dieses Jahr (falls das klappt) meinen PhD anfangen will sehe ich es zum Teil als meine Pflicht wenigstens zu versuchen gewisse Informationen weiterzuvermitteln. Manchmal klappts, manchmal nicht.

Thanks for changing my reasoning on that

Thanks for removing my misconception.

My pleasure!

hey suesa, former art-universe here (Martin) - nice article and great read from your side as biologist! cool to meet you on Hive. Joined today with a totally new account. Hope to read you sci fi stories again in the future. all the best 🙃❤️

Good to see you around!

Scifi stories require some mental energy which I might have again after my exams late May ... maybe.

Why the name change?

I reblogged @apsu's cross post and this intentionally. There is not information out there about this and what a worthy reblog!

Firstly I am only learning now about the difference between the virus and the disease. I assumed it was one and the same thing. I had read somewhere that it is causing strokes to young people which has had my eldest on his own lockdown.

What is interesting is how this is so detailed yet what the media is putting out here is probably what is fuelling the misinformation. Locally, tales of ridiculous ways to heal it are too juicy for sighs and smhs but there is one that still stands out.

Apparently, a new born baby said that the cure to this deadly is what we refer to as 'strong tea' (the rest of the world calls it black tea) then it died. And people started believing it and even getting careless as they could afford the cure. I have never been so irritated by ignorance.

People are desperate for a solution, so they will try anything. Human nature, I suppose ...

People are allowed to be desperate because it is scary but those responsible for spreading the wrong info will only make it worse.

I was informed of these 3 things:
-Covid 19 can live undetected in the body for 3 days, so self diagnose every 3 days
-100% of people have herpes
-this virus will be like the AIDS virus, they will get it controlled by medicine.
I just sat there thinking, wow one can truly learn something new everyday

PS. thanks for the great information.

  1. Is not quite true. The incubation time (= time between infection and symptoms) can be up to 14 days. And even then, some people do not show any symptoms but are still able to infect others. This is the reason we are supposed to do social distancing! We don't know if we carry the virus or not, if we don't get tested, so we need to act as if we are infected to protect those around us.

  2. Not quite 100%, but the majority of people very likely has one variation of the herpes virus. Here is a post I wrote on that topic.

  3. That is speculation. The AIDS virus is a different virus, not even a coronavirus. Ideally, we will find medicine and even a vaccine. But at this point, we can not be sure that will ever happen.

Thanks for reading! :)

What's way more important for me is that these new vaccines are also based upon a completely new technology. RNA vaccines..

It's like genetically modifying humans.. live.. without tests (Gates wanna come down to 18 months of testing instead of 5 yrs - even though that new technology is still illegal.. so they also try to break the ice for this new technology..)

Also you should inform yourself about chlordioxide (clO2) instead of hydroxychloroquine ;)

Greets :)

zieh Dir das mal rein -- ist lustig ;)

ne grad kein Bock danke

zieh du dir lieber mal was sinnvolles rein, vllt bissl Fernsehen? bissl Panik :)

Hast Du mal versucht MMS auf D9 zu potenzieren und daraus Globuli zu machen?


nerv nicht

War ne ernst gemeinte Frage

ich glaub du solltest dich wirklich vor den Fernseher hocken

Actually, it is not genetically modifying humans.

RNA vaccines are composed of the nucleic acid RNA, which encode antigen genes of an infectious agent. When administered to host cells, the RNA is translated into protein antigens that elicit protective immunity against the infectious agent. (Source)

But I understand where you're coming from.

To break the definition I gave down: RNA vaccines provide your cells with a blueprint. They follow this blueprint and produce a protein that looks like a specific surface area of the virus. The cell sends this protein to the outside, and the immune system reacts to it as if it would to a viral infection, ideally creating a memory.

There are no modifications to the human genome, and the RNA is eventually destroyed by the body, it does not stay in the cell forever.

However, past attempts at RNA or DNA vaccines have not been very successful, because the immune response is not very effective and usually requires a second type of immunisation agent (Source: My lecturer for my "Vaccines and Adjuvants" module, I am a bit too lazy to look up a paper for that. But can if you insist).

I agree that thorough tests are needed for any kind of vaccine. Actually, 18 months is still pretty optimistic. The majority of that time is not used to produce a potential vaccine candidate, but to wait after injecting it in someone to see if it damages the person, and if it creates immunity.

I haven't followed the vaccine research for SARS-CoV-2 too closely because I don't have the time to read much extra stuff on top of my assignments. Although, jokes on me, one of the ones I still need to write is about the question why it's difficult to develop coronavirus vaccines.

Anyway, I understand your concern. The main problem I see is the rushed timeline and potential lack of testing, mostly because they tend to skip animal models and directly inject it into volunteers. Then again, we kinda need a vaccine, social distancing and lockdowns can't go on forever.


The impact of the media about the spread of the virus was rapid. At a point in time, I thought we had about two viruses ravaging the world when I first heard about Coronavirus, later I started seeing Covid-19. Not knowing it's the same virus that have the two names. I'm afraid, I haven't even seen SARS-CoV-2 before. It's mostly reffered to as Covid-19 and Coronavirus.

Your post is quite enjoyable. Stay safe.

The media caused a lot of additional fear and confusion, and it's an immense problem. The name confusion doesn't help, I agree.

Thank you for reading, you stay safe too!

Ah, not what I expected to read initially...I did enjoyed what you ended up getting into though ;)

Hope all is going well.


Now I wonder what you did expect to read!

Haven't seen you in a while, we haven't been accidentally running into each other constantly anymore :P

Was that by accident...? I suspected that you were conducting research on the The Steembirds for your diabolical experiments ;)

Sorry to disappoint, but I didn't even know you exist xD

Great write up, do you have any info about reinfection and if herd immunity will actually be possible?

Sadly, the research on that is still not conclusive, so I can't give you an answer for that. Some worry about reinfection being possible, some claim that cases of reinfection are only people who have been mistakenly declared recovered. Some say that a vaccine may provide greater immunity than an actual infection. Some say we might not even get a vaccine.

It's still pretty much in the air right now, which is why it's important to look for both potential vaccines and medication. If we can't vaccinate, we must try to treat.

Current C-19 death rate according to most recent Stanford antibody study is on the order of 0.1% ... aka... about the same as seasonal flu.

You mean this not yet peer-reviewed study?

I'm not sure about its accuracy, but due to my lack of time to properly get into the methods, I'll not fight that part.

Let's assume they're correct. We still have 210 193 deaths within a little bit over 4 months, and that WITH social distancing. Source

The annual deaths from influenza are on average 389 000, WITHOUT social distancing. Source

Let us assume (and I actually don't believe it) that the death rate is really 0.1% ... we still have a lot more deaths than from influenza.

That aside, it's still deaths? There are still hundreds of thousands of people dying? I get my annual flu vaccine to avoid infecting someone who might die from it. I am worried about the flu! I am even more worried about Covid19, because it's killing more people!

So, I'm not sure what you want to tell me with that comment. That Covid19 is nothing to worry about? It is. That I should not worry more than about influenza? But I should.

Beyond simply deaths, Covid19 also damages survivors a lot more than the flu.

Young and middle-aged people with Covid19 are suffering from an increased number of strokes.

Patients that survive can be left with lung damage.

The virus could be causing neurological damage.

It's not just the death rate we need to worry about, but the bigger picture.

Confirmation bias... it's a study killer.

I mean yes, I just don't see how that statement is relevant here.

All results... including negative results are meaningful.

The peer review process does not guarantee anything. Rather, such process relies heavily on Claimed Authority... the so-called 97% consensus model.

I prefer to the Royal Society:

Nullius in verba

So far, the antibody data from several independent sources are indicating a much larger infection rate. Stanford is just the most recent, but there are other data sets...

So, if the infection rate is an order or two higher than what you've assumed in your paper, what happens to the claim of misinformation?

Please read my first comment again. You will realise that, even though I do not believe the 0.1% death rate, I accepted it for the sake of the argument. People are still dying en masse.

People are still dying en masse


How many humans die each and every year from the flu?

How many humans who have died when infected with C-19 have Also been infected with some other virus and/or have had significant and many times deadly pre-existing conditions?

Where is the accurate count which shows clearly with scientific certainly that C-19 was the cause of death?

If you don't know... you are assuming and all assumptions are subject to confirmation bias.

There is quite a clear divide that runs through all areas of life and is particularly visible again at the moment: Such between professions where people work practically, who come into direct contact with the things their training was aimed at, and such professions where the direct contact with the human as a whole no longer takes place. This is turning out to be a problem, and it's not so since yesterday.
Always there, where the data desired by science is to be collected practically. As educated people, we should also not forget the conflicts of interest that are now inherent in many scientific researches.

Whoever treats thousands of patients as a doctor, whoever cares for the much-vaunted old and sick as a nurse, for example, receives something in the long run through practice with people, (or animals and plants) that purely scientifically working people do not receive: a feeling for how to help people in spontaneously occurring situations that goes beyond data and quantities - more an art than a science. They all have valuable things to say after years of professional experience. Practitioners are of great value to the community of people.

The world of science, when it deals exclusively at the desk, in the laboratory, with models and statistics, when it deals with publications and papers, with reputation and participation in clinical trials, it can give probabilities and averages. Individual cases and exceptions, those that do not fit into the test series, experiments that cannot be reproduced exactly, are not part of studies. That in itself is a problem, but that is not my point.

Scientific education alone is not enough to understand a complex creature or life at all. Because in order to "understand" a virus, you would also have to study and research much more about the many interactions and other influences that we, as human beings, experience in this world, and preferably in a combination of both: theory and practice. You'd study "life". If you have spent ten or twenty or thirty years in the field, as well as in books and with a great many people, you will find that you know very little. That all the knowledge you are so confident in applying and bringing into the world is never really enough when you are dealing with people in hospitals, doctors' offices, schools, kindergartens, all institutions where people treat or care for other people. And that's what all is about. To care, right?

Science itself is not the ultimate wisdom. It has its proper place in society, it is ONE field among many others, but it is not ABOVE them.

When you talk about freeing people from their lack of knowledge and you take a pro-vaccination, I want to tell you that I don't think that way. A lot of people don't think that way. They don't need any scientific justification or special eloquence for it. They do not need an accurate scientific explanation because they do not want one. So if I am against a vaccination of the Corona virus, it is my personal decision. People have feelings, they are irrational and everyone believes exactly what they want to believe in the end. No scientist can be exempt from this and in very many cases faith is behind a scientifically produced argument, if not all. That much should be clear to you.

I agreed with you up to the point where you say that being against the vaccine is a personal decision.

I agree that especially research scientists quickly lose sight of humans and human interaction. I agree that it's impossible to know everything and that it's important to look outside of science and at humans.

But I don't agree that the refusal of a vaccine is something I should just accept.

I can accept it for tetanus - you're not infecting anyone else with it, so go ahead and refuse the vaccine. You're the only one who suffers. But when it comes to infectious disease? You're not just endangering yourself, but those who are not (yet) vaccinated. And the more people refuse the vaccine, the greater is the danger due to lack of herd immunity.

I think the vaccine needs to be properly tested for safety and effectivity. But beyond that? It's necessary to protect people, especially those who are unable to protect themselves.

I don't think that having me vaccinated against my will, is anything I must accept.

This whole thing sounds. It probably will be a run whose numbers are going to be accepted and what numbers are contaminated by the inaccurate tests and form of counting. I can only hope that the data will be honest eventually.

We are far from how the term "pandemic" is usually understood. Until now, strangely enough. One must understand what causes people to die in masses. It has never a single cause, multiple things have to come together like warlike zones, deep distress, hunger, contaminated water, polluted air and so on and so forth. Distributing panic and so called education by using subtle formulations and extra frightening examples adds to this list.

The full title of my degree is "Immunology and Global Health" so I understand the additional causes you're talking about. But it just doesn't apply here.

I'm not advocating for people to be forcefully vaccinated, I'm advocating for providing relevant information and educating people in a way that makes them understand why vaccines are necessary.

I know that many people want to believe this whole thing is less serious than it's made out to be. Hell, I honestly wish it is, I wish it'd go away in a month. I wish I could finish my education in peace, start my PhD as I had planned, travel Ireland as intended, have my wedding next year with a hundred people and international friends.

But I have to face the reality that many of those things might not happen, because people are dying en masse, especially where there are less restrictive measures in place, even in first world countries. Yes, often it's due to a factor like lack of available hospital beds - but what if the numbers rise? Even in Germany, there is only so much space in the hospitals.

I understand that you are scared. We all have special and personal anxieties. If you want to lose anxiety the best thing is to talk to people who are out there in the hospitals and ask them if they are having any troubles in forms of capacity.

Germany has so far one of the best health care systems I know of. It is not comparable to other countries, not to Italy or Spain, to name those who are in the media as "having the most cases/deaths". We can be critical towards the intention to close hospitals in the long run and it already began. We have already a relevant shutdown of hospitals nationwide but still enough to take care of intense times (IF people do not panic).

Your age is actually the one in which you need the least to worry. You are young and if you do not have any chronic illnesses there is really no reason to worry. Elderly people who are vulnerable right now do have a really hard time. They are avoided, they cannot go to the doctor (a huge and important part for elders to be in touch with society), not sitting around in the supermarket cafes where they like to hang around and I often see them, not in churches or other gatherings. In the nursing homes having staff which worries about their own lives. Don't you think it's a good idea to have them back their lives instead of waiting for a vaccine they either might not get or want. If you want to know what the vulnerable think: Talk to them and be in touch.

One of my classmates is a nurse. She's come to cry in our WhatsApp groupchat more than once. There is insufficient PPE, and people are dying alone. They don't have enough space to properly isolate covid19 patients from the rest. I receive a bunch of front line news.

I don't worry about myself, I worry about my friends with underlying conditions, my grandparents, everyone who is vulnerable.

It's not just the elderly who are vulnerable. People my age can be too. I am in touch with my friends who have chronic illnesses, who haven't left the house in two months, not even for a walk because they are too scared to die. I am in touch with vulnerable people who wish people would stop behaving like those with preexisting conditions are disposable.

I'm currently not in Germany, I'm in Ireland, so yes, things are slightly different. Germany might be doing better, but if the curve isn't "flattened" enough, resources will eventually run out too.

to remain humanly you've got to face that people die and that every one can die any minute.

If a facility cannot give space for isolation then it should deal in the best positive way with the real circumstances ... not let people feel that they are a threat for each other, which is always a bad idea. If people must die alone out of fear, something is wrong with humanity. Now, is your friend who is a nurse, giving company anyways? I would call her humane and serving in real life what most of us do as lip service.

Here in Germany we run under capacity as far as I know.

Looking for good stories and actually distributing what has NOT happen in terms of disaster so far (as many many doctors and other people in the field confirm) would be a good thing, is what I think right now. If your friend has anything good to share I would be happy to receive it.

As you put so much weight on the experience of front line workers, on the emotions, please read this post by an ICU nurse from New York. Read it to the end. Maybe you'll then understand why I'm so angry.


So what I really don't understand is the paradox of what is happening right now. If there is no treatment and no cure for Covid, why treat and medicate people? Why are people being neglected, why are they not being given peace of mind and instead of treating them with medicine that is normally given for other forms of disease? So that you can say you did everything for people and followed medical protocol? I don't want to end up in hospital. I, for one, do not want to be on that kind of protocol. I am not a statistical figure, nor am I a guinea pig for the vanities, world saviors or economic interests of those who come around the corner with promises of salvation. You are still too young to already recognize some of these "dangers" and their "management" as what they are in most cases: Interest or fear driven. Or even by some kind of illusory do-gooderism that one wants to pin to one's chest.

If the state leaders really cared about the sick and dying, they would not have privatized the hospitals and our government representatives would not have sold them to the highest bidder. It is perverse enough to pay out shares on the profits of hospitals.

One thing all nurses can always attest to is that they have no time at all to take care of their patients personally and thoroughly and with dedication. There are shift schedules based on efficiency, not care.

Have you ever had the experience of being overlooked in hospital? You lie on some corridor for three hours where you have an MRI and no one talks to you, no one speaks to you, no one addresses you? Everyone's so busy. Yeah, with what? Caring for patients? You can spend two days in a hospital through the machinery of diagnostics without a human hand touching you or an eye knowing and recognizing you. And then you are only touched because it is the necessary manipulation for measuring blood pressure or giving you an infusion. A touch that goes beyond that, a hand that is placed on yours with the intention of coming into a living feeling contact with you, without any form of medical treatment, that is how I understand care. If you yourself have been terribly ill and you have had the impression of being invisible under medical care, you will know how painful this experience is.

People don't die from medical underprovision or from their illness alone, they die from medical overactionism and from grief over this lack of cordiality in hospitals, where you can only be totally hardheaded if you don't want to be touched by what's going on. They die with the bitter experience of unkindness, because they are not even allowed to see again those of the nurses who cared for them in the last shift and who perhaps had someone with them whom they would like to have at their side. Nor do the nurses have the chance to do so the other way around. The thing a patient needs most is time for personal contact. What the caregiver needs is the valuable experience that his profession offers him: to sit by the side of patients who cannot be rescued and to accompany them adequately when they die, to feel two or more hours of silence and peace when no relatives can be present. But this is not billable.

This is not a scientific debate at all, it's an ideological one.

Enjoy the freedom to believe in something that is important to you. I respect this freedom more than anything else and therefore I can let your stance exist alongside mine because this is really valuable to have. Of course I make passionate pleas for my position, but never in my life would I force you to have mine. I can only tell you that if you are a child of parents who had to give up this freedom because the heads of state only allowed a universal worldview, that is just terrible. My parents did not even have an opinion in principle, but it was enough to have their origin and descent as a reason to hold any coercive proceedings with them that one could think of.

You could, however, become very sensitive if the diversity of opinions is no longer part of the media reports (AND the sciences) and the law enforcement agencies and the executive branch have a single line. The state, when the first stage of the basic rights is exceeded, rarely withdraws from these legal restrictions. That frightens me more than anything else. I find death less horrible. It's a life without freedom that I fear.

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OP’s response to my post? “User ignored”

I'm not interested in people who chose to advertise their own content on my posts. It's rude.

Hello, I was late to reward your hard work, but receive my recognition. At the same time, I suggest that the fear and mistrust of vaccines is not due to the behavior of dead or attenuated viruses or bacteria, but due to the supposed content of metals and preservatives implicated or suspected of causing diseases that 2 or 3 generations ago were barely known and today they are more frequent.
Thanks for listening. (Sorry for the mistakes, use the Google translator) Hola, llegue tarde para recompensar su gran trabajo, pero reciba mi reconocimiento . Al mismo tiempo le planteo que el temor y desconfianza hacia las vacunas no es por el comportamiento de virus o bacterias muertos o atenuados sino por el supuesto contenido de metales y conservantes implicados o sospechosos de causar enfermedades que hace 2 o 3 generaciones apenas se conocían y hoy son mas frecuentes.
Gracias por escuchar.