July 27, 2020

Infodemic worse than the pandemic

The good news today is the Moderna vaccine trial is going forward. This is the next phase where they will compare the half that get the real vaccine and the half that gets the placebo to see if it is effective and look for adverse effects. They hope to have 30,000 volunteers. The other vaccine candidates are moving forward. This is exciting news.

Because we need it. Washington State has smoldering infections and could ignite into a hot spot if we are not careful. It has been growing in rural counties and now increasing in the Seattle area as the economy opens up and people avoid warnings about gatherings.

But there are real fears in the medical and public health community that the uptake for the vaccination may not break 50%. This is due to the long standing skepticism of vaccines nurtured by the anti vaxxer communities, as well as other entities pushing doubt.

We need to keep vigilant and fight the infodemic as much as we need to be vigilant about our mask wearing and physical distancing. Johns Hopkins Magazine has this excellent article about the infodemic and how to help fight it. Arming ourselves with reliable info is a start. I know I have written about this before, but misinformation and its spread may be more dangerous than COVID-19. The excellent Infodemic blog is a good start and Newsguard can help you figure reliable news sources. And then there is “Calling Bullshit” the wonderful site and book by Carl T Bergstrom.

Paying attention matters and can make a difference. Early on I wrote about the “Plandemic” conspiracy theory video, which was roundly proven to have false hoods. Sinclair Broadcasting Company, which owns many local news stations across the country, was planning to run a “documentary” about the claims. The push back from many scientists and citizens led them to cancel. A huge victory for truth.

Wash your hands, cover your nose, keep safe six, and check your sources.

And finally, my caveat is that this is my experience and my opinions, which are subject to change as more information is available, and not related to the organization I work for. Thanks for reading.