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.

When it was just smoke

There have been a lot of posts by well-meaning white folks lately. While it is nice, from my perspective it is bringing a smoke detector to a three-alarm fire. The people in the burn ward do not need to be told that while you have never been on fire, you understand that it was hot.

I needed you every time a person said I had a bad attitude. I needed you to ask them why they thought that. I needed you to point out that I wasn’t doing anything different, or responding differently than another coworker.

I needed you when someone said they felt threatened by me. I needed you to ask them why, and what I had done. I needed you to challenge them with their own bias. I needed you to tell them then, that being black isn’t a threat. I needed you to not validate their racist feelings just because they feel them. I needed you to think about how a man that has spent his life defending others would feel being labeled as dangerous.

I needed you to confront your friends when I told you how they treated me. Not tell me, that you don’t see me that way, or that you nave never seen it. I needed you to trust that I wouldn’t say it was a hostile work environment unless it was. I needed you to talk to people that wouldn’t listen to me.

I needed you every time someone said “I don’t see color” and tell them that doesn’t make them enlightened, but it makes the ignorant to the unique experiences of others. I’m not just talking about racism here, if you don’t see color, you miss out on the beauty of a rainbow.

I needed you more times than I can list here. And not just me, so many of us. I don’t need you to tell me when the world is on fire, I needed you when it was just smoke.

Originally posted to my Facebook June 1, 2020.

Come on baby

“Come on baby,” I say. “You know you want to.”

She gives me that sideways glance that tells me she does but is trying to size up my intentions.

“It’s okay,” I say hoping to nudge her in the right direction, “everyone else does it.”

She still hesitates.

“I promise I won’t tell anyone,” I lie, “It’ll be our little secret.”

It is a harmless little lie but I know that as soon as this is over, I am going to brag about this to all my friends. I might even sneak a few pictures if I can.

Tentatively, her hand reaches out then quickly retracts.

“I won’t judge you, in fact I think it will bring us closer together.”

Even I know that is B.S. This is only our second date. I might be pushing too hard but I feel I am already committed and I want to get things moving.

She looks me dead in the eye and can recognize my intentions. A smile of resignation plays across her lips and she sighs, “Okay.”

I hide my elation so she doesn’t change her mind at the last second. She is going to do it. She wants to, I want to, we both want this and her giving in feels like a small victory.

With no more hesitation she places two more pieces of bacon on her plate and heads for the omelet bar.

Tempo

Slow it down she said

She talks to me like I don’t know what I’m doing

Try it again she scolds

Clearly she does not understand that her tone isn’t making it better

That isn’t right either

Can’t she see I am trying

No, do it like this

She shows me how she wants me to do it, but it only confuses me more

Your tempo is wrong, you keep doing it too fast

Over and over she says tells me to slow down

That may be how you think it is done, but that isn’t it.

The repetition is maddening, but I dutifully do as she says. 

That’s right, she says with a smile on her face, that is how it is done.

She leans back smiling, pleased with herself, and finally with me. Without another word she turns away from me.

Satisfied with my progress, I take out my pencil and place a check mark in the book. Man, learning the piano is hard.

Background: I needed a two credit class to be considered full time for the GI Bill so I took an elective. This is an accurate depiction of my experiences.