As we are weeks away from entering the third year of living with COVID, one cannot help but see what a toll has been taken on the world. People have gotten hyper-emotional. We’re all mad and sad and scared and confused. We all just want answers because we have so many questions.
Sadly, too many people have turned to the internet to find answers. In theory, this should be a wonderful thing. The internet can be, when used properly, an amazing wealth of information. However, like most good things, it can also be used to cause considerable harm.
I get that there are a lot of bad faith actors out there; people who just use the world wide web and all of its applications to confuse people. I just wish some of them weren’t just so fucking stupid.
Here is one example.
Twice this week on Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta Facebook Dance Party, I’ve seen people post the same story that I found on Reuters a few days ago. If you’re not going to click the link, that’s fine. I’m gonna lay it all out for you. Here is the headline: Prior COVID infection more protective than vaccination during Delta surge -U.S. study
Holy shit, right?
Have we been lied to all this time? Is the vaccine some sort of big pharma hoax? Has this all just been a big lie so that George Soros and Hillary Clinton can control us? Have Alex Jones and Joe Rogan been the true voices of reason from the beginning?
I think you know the answer to this question. But, let’s just do a mini-dive into this and then you can go back to your pizza bagels or whatever you were doing.
I think there are two types of people who posted this article in the hopes it would help prove their anti-vaccine nonsense correct. The first group, and I think this is most people, are people who just read the headline and felt morally vindicated and needed to share the truth with the world.
We’ll get to the second group later, because there is one big problem with the first group.
It’s super easy to read a headline. It’s much easier than reading the whole article. That Reuters article I hyperlinked to? Raise your hand if you didn’t click it. It’s ok to be honest with yourself. Good. Now put your hands down. I can’t see you.
Had you clicked on the article, you would have found this. It’s the entire second paragraph, and I’m just gonna post the whole damn thing:
Protection against Delta was highest, however, among people who were both vaccinated and had survived a previous COVID infection, and lowest among those who had never been infected or vaccinated, the study found.
Oh, man. It’s almost like this article is saying that scientists agree that people should still be getting vaccinated, even if you’ve had an infection. The article later goes on to say that the CDC is still recommending vaccines and boosters and that none of this data factors in Omicron, which is almost the totality of cases in the US right now.
But you wouldn’t have known that if you’re in that first group of people. And that leads me to the second group of people. They’re much worse.
Surely, there are other people who saw the headline, clicked the link, read the whole article, but knew that most people fall into the first group. So, knowing they would be actively spreading information, they went ahead and posted a misleading headline in the hopes you wouldn’t read the article.
This second group of people suck.
So, what can we do?
We can read the articles. Call out bullshitters. Look for proper context. Get vaccinated. Keep looking out for each other.
It’s all we can do.
Let’s do it together.