To add to what number4 said about Scientific Methodology, there is also methodology to journalism and research and there is a reason reporters vet their sources and newspapers fact check before they run stories. My children were taught critical analysis of information sources in High School, to consider the source of information and be on the lookout for misinformation, bias or ulterior motives in the information they consume. It has helped them to stay educated and not misinformed. The internet is the wild west of misinformation, garbage and huge time sinks of manipulative marketing crap. The allure of the conspiracy theory or "the truth is out there and they are hiding it from us" is strong, but misguided. The truth is the truth as far as science goes. We haven't had a lot of time to do the science of COVID 19 and it's many mutations justice, but we have a strong background to work from. Nothing is being made up as we go along except the politicized and polarizing attempts to control the spread of the virus and the misinformation about it.
My thoughts and some data as respectfully and succinctly as my science brain* can put it:
The Nature News made my skin crawl. Among the front page articles: Zombie apocalypse from the vaccine, microchip implantations are inevitable, Vaccine AIDS... This is not a scholarly unbiased publication, and in my estimation it is inflammatory noise. As to the Lancet, a respected, peer reviewed medical journal, I'm still searching for ANYTHING on VAIDS in the infectious disease news or archives. I haven't found a scholarly reference yet, but I'm getting a lot of hits for what I call garbage links. If anyone wants to share data I am missing I would appreciate it.
Also from the Lancet: " The genesis of variants, such as omicron, are (in part) the result of our unequal response to COVID-19. The large portions of the global population that remain unvaccinated present the greatest risk for mutations and evolution of SARS-CoV-2."
From the Wiley Library of Medical Virology: The term "variant of concern" (VOC) for SARS-CoV-2 (which produces COVID-19) refers to viral variants with mutations in their spike protein receptor-binding domain (RBD) that dramatically improve binding affinity in the RBD-hACE2 complex while also causing fast dissemination in human populations.......The Omicron variation includes 30 mutations in the Spike protein. The spike protein variants undergo mutation by interaction with human ACE2 protein. "
Humans are hosting and mutating the virus in pockets all around the globe, then travelling through airports re-infecting new areas over and over. The virus is moving fast, mutating quickly and challenging our efforts to stay ahead with vaccines. I could write pages on the complexity of FDA regulations as they apply to certification of disinfectants, and those same rules and guidelines apply to vaccines. As complex as everything can get at the Federal level, I trust the process and the scientific rigor of those behind the scenes. Or at least I did until we had a purging of the brain trust to "drain the swamp" for political gain over qualifications and competency. What a perfectly poorly timed storm.
I'm going with the data and science I can vet, my doctor's recommendations and the advice of my medical professional friends in the US, Canada and the UK, not to mention my gut. My Doctor is livid at the politicization of this MEDICAL issue and says regardless of where you stand on an acceptable risk of death in a population - one vs two percent, or perceived risk vs influenza, everyone is ignoring the horror of the downstream inflammatory response the survivors of COVID will be dealing with for years. This will cripple families and our economy with the burden of caring for the downstream problems we are just beginning to see.....
I get that all of this sucks, our infrastructure is being stressed to its limits, businesses are failing, families are suffering and people are dying when they did not have to. These are trying times. Add in manipulative, biased, angry, ill informed or malicious misinformation on the internet and it is a HOT MESS. When in doubt, in the US, watch any of the network news sites, because they still practice a shred of JOURNALISM to vet information before submitting it in public. News from google searches or social media sites often isn't worth the bits and bytes it's made of without checking who wrote it and why.
As to those who won't vaccinate or mask to protect themselves and others, the data on how the virus is transmitted, who is living and who is dying is indisputable at this point. I am past trying to reason with or find common ground with extremists on either side of this discussion, because it is hopeless. Regardless, I truly wish for all to stay safe and healthy, and for our hospitals and economies and societies to hold up under the crush of this awful pandemic. History books are going to have a lot to say about what happened to our world in the 2020's. Interestingly, neurobiology research shows that affiliation with our two party political system is identifiable with over 80% accuracy in MRI brain scans. Our polar divisions on the decision to vaccinate appear to correspond highly with political affiliation, so it seems we are wired differently, period. There is not much middle ground to be found amid the noise and I'm beginning to think that this may be the brink of a major socio-biological evolutionary tipping point. I really hope I am wrong.
A few articles on monoclonal antibody efficacy caught my eye, which makes the availability of them as treatments and whether or not they are being withheld or just supply problems a moot point without early detection and the ability to test the patient for neutralising anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, which roughly half of the study patients had:
"In addition to the overall null results reported here for sotrovimab and BRII-196 plus BRII-198, previous trials of bamlanivimab12 and casirivimab plus imdevimab23 have also reported null results for the overall population of patients hospitalised with COVID-19. However, evidence is emerging that patients hospitalised with COVID-19 without endogenous anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies might benefit from neutralising monoclonal antibody therapy. In our study, approximately 301 (58%) of 513 patients were negative for neutralising anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies at the time of randomisation and, among these patients, point estimates suggested treatment with BRII-196 plus BRII-198 could potentially be beneficial..."
I could go on and on and on..... but enough.
* My factual and belief base: a career in analytical laboratories and process quality assurance, human health and safety monitoring at the state and federal level and a life long obsession with research and a secret desire to be an answer desk librarian. I know a thing or three about data quality, accuracy vs. precision, research methodologies, standard analytical practices, documentation and paper trails, not to mention government oversight and guidelines. I have a healthy respect for things I can't see, like microbes, viruses, parasites, toxic chemicals, radioactive contamination, COVID and human bias.
[This message edited by whatisloveanyway at 9:39 PM, Saturday, January 8th]