The Daily Dose: Debunking the latest COVID-19 conspiracy theory

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The COVID-19 conspiracy theories keep coming and coming hard. The latest bit of coronavirus misinformation was broadcast on the upstart right-wing news network, One America News (OAN). According to a widely circulated news segment, the COVID-19 pandemic is a secret scheme by the unholy cabal of George Soros, China, the World Health Organization, and the Clinton Foundation. Among the more mind-boggling assertions, made by a virologist named Judy Markovitz, is that wearing face masks serve to “activate” the coronavirus, hence sparking infection. As per Science, “Science fact-checked the video. None of these claims are true. The video is an excerpt from a forthcoming movie Plandemic, which promises to ‘expose the scientific and political elite who run the scam that is our global health system.’ YouTube, Facebook, and other platforms have taken down the video because of inaccuracies.” The article Markovitz dives into the scientist’s background, including her ignominious fall after being forced to retract a study that would have helped her rise up the scientific community ladder. https://bit.ly/2YQlFkk

Tuesday marks the first time members of President Donald Trump’s task force will be formerly questioned by members of Congress, albeit the Republican-controlled Senate and not the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives. As per STAT, “It’s the first major, in-person congressional hearing on the issue in months. And it’s the first time that members of the Trump administration’s coronavirus task force have been summoned before the members of Congress who, at least theoretically, are supposed to be conducting oversight over the White House’s response to a pandemic that has killed nearly 80,000 Americans to date.” The crack-crew of writers at STAT compiled 14 possible questions that need to be asked. https://bit.ly/3cqnSGY

Testing, testing, testing. That’s been the public health community’s mantra since the early days of the current coronavirus pandemic. In the United States, it’s been a long and labored haul to get any form of testing to take place. While things have certainly improved since then, it’s nowhere near the level we need. An at home diagnostic test would go a long way towards fixing the problem further. For the time being, there are two options. As per FierceBiotech, “The FDA authorized its first COVID-19 diagnostic test that allows a person to collect a simple saliva sample themselves without leaving their homes, similar to a personal DNA test… The green light expands upon a previous authorization for a test developed by Rutgers University designed to use a person’s spit instead of a nasal swab. The agency also granted its blessing to LabCorp’s at-home swab test in late April.” Accuracy has been a serious COVID-19 problem up until this point. https://bit.ly/3bjKqI9

Most science-minded people are aware of the nearly century old problem faced when physicists try to reconcile General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics. Turns out, it’s not alone. In light of the discovery of quarks and gluons, scientists have faced a problem regarding Quantum Mechanics and the theory of quantum chromodynamics. Quanta magazine explored the issues facing QCD. “A million-dollar math prize awaits anyone who can solve the type of equation used in QCD to show how massive entities like protons form. Lacking such a solution, particle physicists have developed arduous workarounds that deliver approximate answers. Some infer quark activity experimentally at particle colliders, while others harness the world’s most powerful supercomputers. But these approximation techniques have recently come into conflict, leaving physicists unsure exactly what their theory predicts and thus less able to interpret signs of new, unpredicted particles or effects.” It’s all way above our paygrade so we’ll just leave it at that. https://bit.ly/2WNLRt1

Everyone’s focus has been on terrestrial pathogens and rightly so. However, some scientists involved with space travel have been working to prevent the infection of our planet by alien pathogens should they exist. Futurism is reporting on a paper written by Scott Hubbard et al., “To counteract any chances of contaminating other places around our solar system, Hubbard suggests scientists could implement “combinations of chemical cleaning, heat sterilization, applying reduction credit for time spent in the highly sterilizing space radiation environment and clever mechanical systems” that have already been shown to be effective.” Most would agree, we don’t need any more pathogens on the planet. Those already present are challenging enough. https://bit.ly/2xR2g7G

Thanks for reading. Let’s be careful out there.

IMAGE SOURCE: Creative Commons

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