A year into the pandemic, what can we really say about government interventions to prevent disease?

Pictured: Stock photo results for “lockdown” are somewhat strange. Source: Pexels

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have been telling a single story. It’s a very compelling narrative, playing into our worst fears and greatest hopes about the pandemic, and it has inspired numerous politicians, scientists, and other experts to try and take action.

The story is simple: the pandemic might be bad, but lockdowns must be worse.

Some have approached this account with some objectivity, and tried to argue that despite the incredible harms of an uncontrolled global pandemic lockdowns are more harmful. …

Why have European countries paused their Astrazeneca rollout?

Pictured: Gotta love vaccines! Source: SELF Magazine

Edit 6/04 with new data about the MHRA and EMA investigations into these clots and the Astrazeneca vaccine.

Edit 8/04: The EMA has now confirmed that a link between the Astrazeneca vaccine and these rare clot conditions is likely. In other news, I had my Astrazeneca vaccine last week.

Vaccines are amazing, life-saving innovations, and the COVID-19 vaccines are no different. As with any medical procedure, there are potential drawbacks to using them, but we know from massive pieces of scientific research that the COVID-19 vaccines are both safe and effective.

And yet, as you have probably heard on the…

3 facts about coronavirus vaccinations to brighten up your day

Pictured: Fantastic stuff. Source: SELF Magazine

At the end of a long, dark COVID-19 winter, vaccines are the spring we’ve all been waiting for. If you had asked most scientists this time last year whether they thought that we would have a COVID-19 vaccine licensed and given to millions of people by the start of 2021, the answer would almost certainly be “absolutely not”.

And yet, here we are. Millions of people already immunized, safe from the numerous harms of COVID-19. It’s been a doom-filled year, but things are really looking up for us all.

A tale of yet more dubious research

Pictured: COVID-proof? Probably not. Source: Pexels

In the endless news cycle that is COVID-19 there’s an almost ceaseless cry that is repeated over and over again. While the subject changes, the basic idea has remained remarkably similar over the last 14 months: “[x] will protect you against coronavirus!”.

Sadly, it’s almost never true.

The newest case of this hopeful thinking has to do with eyeglasses. Headlines across the globe have, for the last week, been proclaiming that people who wear glasses are less likely to catch COVID-19. The New York Post even said that people who wear glasses are “2–3 times less likely to get COVID-19”…

But the same is true of virtually every human disease

Pictured: The key to good health. Source: Pexels

As the pandemic has progressed, something has become starkly clear in almost every situation where it has been examined. It’s a slightly depressing fact, but time and again it has proven true, not just in the United States but in countries across the world.

The evidence is clear, you see — advantage, in particular economic advantage, is impressively protective against the worst harms of COVID-19. Being rich is, when it comes to COVID-19, good for your health.

Why vitamin D probably still can’t cure Covid-19

Pictured: Probably not a cure for everything. Photo: Pexels

There are many scientific questions that have come up during the pandemic. We’ve investigated the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine, looked into school closures, and even checked to see whether spectacles could protect you from getting Covid-19 (the jury is still out on that one).

But perhaps the most consistent question that has been asked, over and over again, is whether vitamin D supplements can treat coronavirus effectively. The allure is understandable — vitamin D is cheap, relatively safe, and there’s some evidence that it can help with the common cold, which is often caused by coronaviruses similar to SARS-CoV-2. If it…

What do we have to look forward to?

Stock photos for the end are, surprisingly, mostly just signage. Source: Pexels

After more than a year of the pandemic, everyone is ready for this to end. It’s just exhausting. The lockdowns, the reopenings, the constant turmoil about what this will mean for our jobs and lives. The ever-present fear that the worst will happen to ourselves or someone we know and love.

I’ve gotta say: pandemics are no fun.

An epidemiologist’s personal perspective

Pictured: great stuff. Photo: SELF Magazine

Note: This is my individual opinion about my own choices. There’s a bit of public health stuff in here too, but what I’m really going over is why I will make a choice for me and not what the best decision for society as a whole might be from an epidemiological standpoint.

After a year of darkness, vaccines really are the light at the end of the Covid-19 tunnel. Yes, vaccination programs take time, and yes, they don’t fix anything immediately. …

Another ignorant myth

Pictured: A friendly kangaroo I met recently. Source: Me

In a very frustrating pandemic, there are so many myths floating about that it can be challenging to know which one is the most upsetting at any one time. There’s the horrifying anti-vaccine sentiment, the outright denial of COVID-19, or the more pernicious misinformation where people pretend that the disease exists but isn’t much of a problem, or you can’t control it anyway.

But for Australians and our Kiwi cousins, there’s one myth that is both extremely common online, and sounds more absurd than anything.

The idea that we’ve just been “lucky”. As anyone living in the two nations can…

A tale of more inconclusive COVID-19 research

Pictured: Peak 2020. Source: Pexels

Almost a month into 2021, and despite the promise of a fabulous new year the reality has already set in that the next 12 months probably won’t be as much of a breeze as we’d hoped. Vaccine programs are slowly rolling out, but given the scope of them it’s unlikely that we’ll be back to anything resembling normal any time soon. …

Gideon M-K; Health Nerd

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