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Bad science Computers and social media Medicine Science Skepticism/critical thinking

“Metabolic optimization” probably won’t save you from COVID-19

A favorite claim by those favoring “holistic” therapies is that using diet to “optimize metabolism” can prevent or treat COVID-19. These claims are of a piece with similar claims for many other diseases and are just as exaggerated.

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Antivaccine nonsense Medicine Politics Popular culture Science Skepticism/critical thinking

Sputnik-V: A Russian con job on its COVID-19 vaccine

Yesterday, Russia announced its approval of Sputnik-V, what Vladimir Putin dubs as the first COVID-19 vaccine. It’s propaganda, a con job, given that no data were presented and there have been no phase 3 trials.

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Medicine Science Skepticism/critical thinking

On “doing your own research”

Ethan Siegel at Forbes argues that you “must not ‘do your own research.’” While the title grates, Siegel is correct that most of us are not really capable of “doing our own research” about most scientific and medical questions because we lack the necessary background. We must therefore be humble and be very, very careful about “doing our own research.”

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Medicine Politics Popular culture Science

COVID-19 and “super-spreaders”

Evidence is emerging suggesting that COVID-19 does not spread equally. A minority of infected individuals seem to spread the virus easily to many people, while most infected individuals spread it to few others or no one at all, likely through a combination of circumstance, environment, and possibly biology. Why is this, and what does it mean for coronavirus containment strategies?

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Medicine Popular culture Science Skepticism/critical thinking

“COVID parties”: Almost certainly an urban legend

There have been stories of “COVID parties,” where young people intentionally try to catch COVID-19. They are almost certainly urban legends.