May 5, 2020

Cinco de Mayo

My favorite day to eat guacamole and eat tacos with smoky green salsa is today. Sadly, we gave our Corona beer to the slugs and snails, to catch them in the trap so they don’t eat our spinach and lettuce. So, no cerveza here tonight, but luckily no signs of murder hornets.

Jamie found this excellent post “About those giant hornets” that puts things in a better perspective. Sadly, we are all at the mercy of the news media. So often there is a tendency to sensationalize, grab your attention, move directly to the worst case scenario, or what is called often called “click bait”, with little thought for accuracy or depth.

News about the coronavirus pandemic often falls into that category, making it easy to be in a constant state of fear and anxiety. Don't get me wrong, in so many ways the media has helped, but in other ways, they actually interfere, such as repeating misinformation from press conferences without a good vetting of the information.

That happened today with the news of an article that shows mutations in SARS-CoV-2 that were initially found in Europe and now in the US. The media then led with the sensational conclusion that it is more infectious and possibly more deadly than the initial virus. Smarter minds then me calmed me down with a counter evaluation that shows the article actually doesn’t prove those claims, this twitter thread made sense to me (link is below).

These stories are the reminders we need right now to stop and slow down. When we hear news that may be scary, concerning, too good to be true, or down right terrifying, it helps to look for the sources and more explanation, before we jump to outcomes. Things are evolving and we must look to the source.

I fear we are all being manipulated by outside influences that are not looking for our best interests. Trolls and bots are increasing their activity to disrupt and divide us. It can be hard to distinguish what is authentic. The media is also easily distracted and goes toward the new shiny object. That is the intent. Divided we fail, so many more will get infected, so many more will die. What to do? Somehow, we need to see that we are all in this together.

All that I know I can do right now is stay sensible, treat people with kindness as much as possible, wear my mask and wash my hands. And also live every moment as much as I can. More music, more fun, more tacos.

Wash your hands and cover your nose.

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.

https://ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/postdetail.cfm

https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.04.29.069054v2

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-05-05/mutant-coronavirus-has-emerged-more-contagious-than-original

https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1257716419166236672.html

https://www.businessinsider.com/trolls-bots-flooding-social-media-with-anti-quarantine-disinformation-2020-4

https://www.forbes.com/sites/simonchandler/2020/04/24/security-researchers-say-the-reopen-america-campaign-is-being-astroturfed/