I did my own Covid research

“Do your own research” they keep saying. So, I decided to do just that. Naturally, the research has to be more than just sitting around and talking to like minded people. Objective thinking doesn’t happen in an echo chamber. With so many people doing their own research, how hard can it be? Do the research, question sources, get the results. Easy money. Don’t worry, I don’t expect to change any minds. Most people have invested so heavily on one side that they will never admit to be wrong.

Do the actual research

Obviously, I am not an expert in infectious diseases or immunology. Unless your “research” ends in a peer reviewed paper in a credible, medical journal, your research is not your own. None of the people that have said they were doing their own research actually conducted research that ended in approved clinical trials so we are all, essentially, taking the results of others. If you are a layperson and have done your research, please show your methodology and records for review. Otherwise, you have to cite your sources for your “research.”

Question sources

Critical thinking is absolutely essential at this stage. For my personal research, I discounted any hypocritical sources, like anyone on Fox news that was recommending avoiding getting vaccinated when they were, in fact, vaccinated. I ignored any elected official that caught Covid themselves. Infectious disease specialists and institutions were considered, with greater weight put on independent and international sources. Any person or organization that could have political motives for their results or reporting would have their finding scrutinized or verified with another source.

In addition, any source used will be examined past the first post that comes up on a google search. No rando blogs, no websites that are really a mouthpiece for a religious or political organization. Only considering information that agrees with you and discounting any counter information is not good research. I am well aware that my guidelines for trusted sources would eliminate the information from a lot of self-researchers, but if your sources do not hold up to critical thinking, how can you trust your information?

In the end, I spent a few days going over different sources and different scenarios. I used both generic and specific searches so I would get different results. Even if a source agreed with my previously held worldview, I discounted it if it didn’t fit my credible source criteria. One source that aligned with my thoughts was discounted because it was not a scientific institution and was instead affiliated with an international religious organization.

My results

After my research, I rejected the claim that the flu was worse than the coronavirus. The number of deaths from Covid was over 10 times that of the pre-Covid flu reported numbers. In addition, in the 2020-2021 flu season, when people were still mostly social distancing, wearing masks, and there was no Covid vaccine, there were only 700 reported flu deaths. If the flu was indeed worse than Covid, those numbers would have been much higher.

New Zealand, with their swift response to the pandemic, virtually eliminated Covid from their shores. Many people claim it was easy for them because they are an island. So, I looked at the rates of other islands. Hawaii and Guam were not able to have the same success as New Zealand. I could not confirm that is because those are American territories and Americans are stupid. However, when people are traveling with fake vaccine cards, and those are the people that think not wearing a mask and social distancing is “freedom” there is no wonder those islands can’t get the virus under control.

I also looked at other island nations. Iceland is also not Covid free. They were doing well on getting the country vaccinated, but there was an uptick in cases. Not surprisingly, it occurred shortly after the government lived all domestic restrictions. It is as if masks and social distancing worked.

Notice no blue on the map?

I then looked at the claim that the vaccine is worse than the virus. The FDA requires healthcare providers to report any death after Covid vaccines, even if it is unclear whether the vaccine was the cause. So, the number of deaths from the vaccine could be inflated. But even if we take it at face value, it still puts vaccine deaths at 0.002%. Two to five people per million suffered an allergic reaction. More than 14.7 million doses of the J&J vaccine were administrated and the CDC and FDA identified 47 confirmed cases of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome. More than 386 million Covid-19 vaccines have been administrated in the U.S. and the reported deaths were 7,899.

Comparing the over 675,000 Covid deaths, it is clear that the virus is worse than the vaccine. One insightful statistic was the breakdown by state of how much of the population had died from Covid. The Florida numbers were 1 out of ever 440 people have died from the virus. I learned of that number before watching a football game and I did the math. If Florida was represented by the crowd in attendance, 163 people would have died from Covid. Using that same chart, Florida deaths, where they are resisting mask and vaccination mandates, is three times the rate of states where Covid restrictions are in place.

As diligent as my research was, I was not able to confirm any of the popular conspiracy theories. I was, however, able to dismiss most with simple critical thinking and a basic understanding of science and the universe.

In conclusion, my research reveals that the threat of Covid is real, it is worse than the flu, the vaccine works, masks and social distancing works. I know a lot of people are hesitant or outright refusing to be vaccinated. I am sure they would like to be seen as strong, freedom loving patriots. But their reasons seem to boil down to “I don’t like being told what to do” which is more of an entitled child’s response than George Washington, who actually made his troops get vaccinated.

Help Me Understand: How is My Life Better as a Black Man?

How is my life, as a black man, better than it was two months ago, and are current efforts working towards the goal of a safer life for black people?

Photo by: Wouter Engler

I’m trying a new approach. I think that often we approach debates from the position of being right and having to convince the other side they are wrong. It means we aren’t really listening for understanding, but for points to counter. What this often leads to is people yelling their best arguments at each other and making no progress.

So, I won’t be making an argument for or against, I will be stating my sticking points. This is not an opportunity to lecture me, but more like be a tutor to guide me to the right answer. If you can explain these issues, I am on your side. If not, I’m not going to tell you to reevaluate your side that is on you. I am seeking understanding, not trying to change minds.

Are protests working?

First, I support protests as a way that Americans have addressed social change. When done right, and for the right reasons, I’m a big fan. We are far past the “raise awareness” stage, so what are the protests currently accomplishing? Police across the nation are still using choke-holds, Breonna Taylor’s killer are still free, and there has been no cultural shift in police department and guilds. So, how are the protests currently making my life safer?

Will defunding the police make black lives safer?

I fully support police reform and reorganization. I like the idea of having other services show up in stressful situations where a person with a gun will only make things worse.  Situations with someone with mental health issues or dealing with the homeless. Times when someone can offer services and not handcuffs. Programs like this in other cities shows a lot of promise and I would love to see something like that implemented in my area. So, my question isn’t is it a good idea, my question is will it make black lives safer? The distinction is important.

Now look at the list of names when we talk about Black Lives Matter. George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, Philando Castile, the list goes on, none of them were homeless or facing a mental health crisis. All were killed after police were responding to a crime or a traffic infraction. Something those other services would not be doing.

As much as I want someone else to take over these duties for the police, none of the defund the police solutions are changing the issue of black people being killed by the police because none of them would have been used in the deaths of these black people.

I’m going to say that again and put it in bold and underline it for the people that skim articles. None of the solutions proposed in defunding the police would have saved the lives of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, Philando Castile, and many more. Defund the police = good, but does not solve the problem we need solved.

Banning tear gas and non-lethal measures

Avoiding the discussion of what “non-lethal” means, I am using it in the context of how law enforcement categorizes it. I know city of Seattle banned them, and at the time of this writing, a federal judge blocked the ban. But here is why it is a sticking point for me. I’m not worried about being pepper sprayed by the police, I am worried about being shot by them. I will take a mild irritant over dying any day. I want the police to have as many steps between verbal warning and shooting as possible.

In fact, can we make up new tools for the police? Can someone invent a combination Taser, pepper spray, Spiderman web shooter, tranquilizer gun? Let’s give them a lot of options before they bring the steel.

How is my life as a black man safer?

I need this question answered. Because, to me, it seems like we have not solved the issues that would demonstrate that black lives, do indeed, matter. It seems to me that this is about white safety. All of this started because of excessive force, inflicted by white police officer, on black citizens. Many who did not commit an arrestable offense, and none committing an offense where the death penalty is a possible punishment. None were having a mental health crisis or in a situation where the police would not be involved if we successfully defunded the police into other programs.

I don’t want to argue semantics, and you should think about your response before touching the keyboard. But please, help me understand; how is my life, as a black man, safer than it was two months ago and how are the current efforts getting us towards that goal? If it isn’t better, should we be doing things different?