The coronavirus pandemic – just as bad for Trump supporting states

coronavirus pandemic

This article about how the coronavirus pandemic will affect conservative red states was written by a database expert who wishes to remain anonymous.

Among my more right-leaning Facebook friends, the attitude towards the coronavirus pandemic goes roughly like this: “The outbreak isn’t anywhere near as bad as the Liberal Media would have you believe. It’s almost entirely confined to sanctuary cities. Everyone should stop overreacting!”

For everyone else, this attitude seems delusional. But for people who live in right-wing communities, the “it’s not so bad” point of view is actually in line with observed reality. And the way that the media has been reporting on the outbreak actually exaggerates this effect. Continue reading “The coronavirus pandemic – just as bad for Trump supporting states”

Dogs, cats, and COVID-19 – what is the effect of the virus on our pets?

Dogs, cats and COVID-19

As a result of a story where a Malayan tiger in the Bronx Zoo contracted COVID-19, many people have begun worrying about dogs, cats, and COVID-19. Is there a worry? Can our pets get sick from the virus? Can they infect humans with it?

Of course, like everything in science, the evidence is not completely clear, especially since this virus has only been recognized since early December 2019. We still don’t have a complete picture of the pathophysiology of the disease, so answering questions about dogs, cats, and COVID-19 is going to be somewhat difficult.

However, we do have some early data, so I’m going to review it as best as I can. Continue reading “Dogs, cats, and COVID-19 – what is the effect of the virus on our pets?”

Coronavirus prevention – quacks are using the anti-vaccine woo cookbook

You could have predicted that coronavirus prevention quacks would show up on the internet about 4.7 nanoseconds after the disease was found outside of China. Every uptick in reports about the disease causes a doubling in the number of coronavirus prevention pseudoscientific websites.

Of course, the FDA has tried to crack down on some of the offenders, but it’s like Whac-A-Mole – you smack down one swindler, two more show up elsewhere. 

This article is going to list out some (but certainly not all) of the most quack-filled coronavirus prevention woo that I’ve seen. Since I don’t consciously try to find this junk, I may not catch them all.

There’s one thing you’ll notice – almost all of this nonsense is the exact same thing that the anti-vaccine crowd pushes as “alternatives” to vaccines. And as much as they don’t work for measles, flu, whooping cough, and other diseases, they don’t work for coronavirus.  Continue reading “Coronavirus prevention – quacks are using the anti-vaccine woo cookbook”

Boosting immunity for COVID-19? Only when we get a coronavirus vaccine

boosting immunity

And here we go again. The interwebs are filled with quacks trying to claim that they have something for boosting immunity to protect oneself from COVID-19. Of course, once you read that someone has the magical potion for boosting immunity, you can almost guarantee that it’s pseudoscience and woo.

Boosting immunity is always the go-to for scam artists whenever there is a deadly outbreak or pandemic like we are seeing now. The pseudoscience of the immune system is pernicious and possibly dangerous.

The problem with these immune system myths is that they overlook or ignore a basic physiological fact – the immune system is a complex interconnected network of organs, cells, and molecules that prevent the invasion of hundreds of thousands, if not millions of pathogens and other antigens every single day.

And no matter how much individuals try to trivialize the complexity of the immune system, it does not make it so. If it were easy as downing a handful of supplements or the magical blueberry-kale smoothie for boosting immunity to coronavirus or any disease, every physician in the world would prescribe.

Unfortunately, even if we could boost our immunity, we shouldn’t – a hyperactive immune system is frequently dangerous to an individual.

Yeah, the pseudoscience crowd doesn’t know their immune system.

Continue reading “Boosting immunity for COVID-19? Only when we get a coronavirus vaccine”

Coronavirus quacks get smacked down by the FDA – grifters keep grifting

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the internet is filled with coronavirus quacks who make all kinds of unsubstantiated and dangerous claims about useless treatments. Enter the FDA to give many of them a good, old-fashioned smackdown.

Right now, there is no official protocol for treating the disease, but China, which has the most cases, researchers reported the majority of patients received IV antibiotics to treat secondary infections (it does nothing to the coronavirus). Most patients have also been treated with antiviral oseltamivir (Tamiflu), which is FDA approved to treat influenza, as well as supplemental oxygen.

Of course, the coronavirus quacks, who wouldn’t know much about evidence-based medicine, are pushing expensive, but useless, treatments for COVID-19. And the FDA couldn’t take it anymore. Continue reading “Coronavirus quacks get smacked down by the FDA – grifters keep grifting”

Flu vaccine for COVID-19 – why you should be vaccinated soon

Flu vaccine for COVID-19

Yes, this article will discuss the flu vaccine for COVID-19 (the current coronavirus outbreak). But for those of you who don’t just read headlines, no, I am not suggesting that the flu vaccine will prevent a coronavirus infection.

As I wrote recently, a coronavirus vaccine is years away from reality. Any suggestion otherwise depends upon magical thinking and beliefs, not in evidence. But there are many things we can do that may prevent the most severe complications from the disease. Continue reading “Flu vaccine for COVID-19 – why you should be vaccinated soon”

Novel coronavirus myths – crazy conspiracy theories including vaccines

novel coronavirus myths

Unless you’re living under a rock, you’ve probably heard many novel coronavirus myths over the past few days as everyone is breathlessly watching the news about the disease. Well, this article is here to mock the conspiracy theories, just because.

This does not mean that we should ignore the new coronavirus, but we should be aware of the pseudoscience and fake news that’s out there these days. I’m sure that in 1750, people blamed smallpox on the devil. Or on Ben Franklin’s electricity experiments. Or on a solar eclipse.

This article will take on some of the weirder or scary novel coronavirus myths. But if you run across something that makes your eyes roll and makes you wonder about science education, please comment. Maybe I’ll incorporate it into part II. Continue reading “Novel coronavirus myths – crazy conspiracy theories including vaccines”

Coronavirus facts – crackpot conspiracists claim it exists to push vaccines

Recently, the world press is breathlessly reporting an outbreak of a respiratory illness caused by a new coronavirus (termed “2019-nCoV”). It was first detected in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. 

Predictably, the second that the story about this coronavirus hit the clickbait headlines across the world, the anti-vaccine conspiracists started pushing all kinds of ignorant nonsense.

You know those conspiracies like the military (unknown which one) created the virus to kill people. Or China is trying to destroy ‘Murica. Or Bill Gates invented the virus (well, if he did, it’s because of Windows 7). Or Big Pharma created the virus because they have a secret vaccine that they can sell for billions of gold bars.

Of course, there isn’t a scintilla of evidence that any of those conspiracies are true. However, if the coronavirus does become a worldwide epidemic (and it hasn’t so far), then the CDC, WHO, and Big Pharma will work feverishly to find a vaccine to prevent it. 

This article isn’t going to spend time refuting such nonsense, but we will focus on the science and the facts since this is a serious concern to people. Continue reading “Coronavirus facts – crackpot conspiracists claim it exists to push vaccines”

Measles immune suppression – Tetyana Obukhanych cherry-picking

Recently, I wrote an article about measles immune suppression, a serious complication of the disease, and one of the great reasons to get the measles vaccine. According to two peer-reviewed articles, one published in the prestigious journal Science and the other article in a sister journal Science Immunology, researchers described that measles infections destroyed some immune memory cells, causing the individual to lose protection to some diseases.

Of course, the anti-vaccine zealots’ favorite false authority, Tetyana Obukhanych, decided to deny the solid scientific articles that established one of the well-known complications of measles. It’s not like anyone should take her babbling pseudoscience seriously, but just in case someone does, it’s important that we point out that Obukhanych is wrong once again. Continue reading “Measles immune suppression – Tetyana Obukhanych cherry-picking”

Measles damages the immune system – more reasons for MMR vaccine

measles damages the immune system

It’s been well known for years that measles damages the immune system, one of the many dangerous complications of the disease. That’s one of the many reasons why we are so strongly in favor of the MMR vaccine and so strongly against measles outbreaks.

Of course, the anti-vaccine zealots will continue to believe that “natural” measles infections will confer some super-immunity to their children. Many deliberately try to infect their kids with the disease.

However, this scientific research, published in one of the most prestigious peer-reviewed scientific journals on this planet, provides convincing evidence that measles damages the immune system. And we should make sure our children don’t contract this dangerous disease. Continue reading “Measles damages the immune system – more reasons for MMR vaccine”