Biden claimed Facebook is killing people. Facebook’s response missed the point.

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On Friday, President Biden said social media platforms including Facebook are “killing people” with misinformation about COVID-19. Facebook’s response: “It’s not us, really.” Facebook’s statement is classic deflection; I’ll deconstruct it for you. On July 15, Vivek Murthy, the US Surgeon General, made a public statement about virus misinformation, which he called “an urgent threat … Continued

The LA Times fumbles its coverage of the scary new Coronavirus strain

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A new, not very well understood strain of coronavirus is circulating in California. In its article about it, the LA Times did a very good job of combining fear and uncertainty into a confusing mix that creates more heat than light. Given the amount of misinformation spreading about the virus from conspiracy theorists and anti-vaxxers, … Continued

Calculating your Thanksgiving COVID-19 risk

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One of my correspondents posted recently that, rather than living in fear, he was having 13 or more people to Thanksgiving at his house. Liberals and health professionals would have you believe that is risky. But just how risky? We all do risk calculations every day. If cars are speeding by on a busy street, … Continued

Bad data? Fix it, don’t scrap it. Even when it’s about a pandemic.

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Trump now says hospitals should send patient information to a database in the Department of Health and Human Services, bypassing the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). This will doubtless be followed by complaints about it being bad data, after which they’ll cut off access to the data — data which at the CDC was publicly … Continued

“Hide” and “ignore” are poor COVID-19 strategies. Let’s invest instead.

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I am frustrated with our national leaders who seem more interested in blaming each other than solving the coronavirus problem. It’s time to consider actual solutions and invest in them. Start with this: the virus is not going away. It’s now expanding exponentially in Arizona, Texas, Florida, and southern California; ICU beds are filling up. … Continued

Passive voice editorials flinch from the truth

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One of the most pernicious of pieces on the opinion pages of our newspapers is the passive voice editorial, which pleads that something must be done — but doesn’t suggest who should do it. That’s particularly worrisome during the current pandemic, because we already know that things are screwed up and people are dying. We … Continued

Because of this terrible chart in Georgia, people could die

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Data is crucial in making decisions about reopening states. So is the visualization of that data. And the state of Georgia may have just published the most misleading and dangerous chart about virus infections ever. Here’s the chart. Take a close look. (You can see it bigger here.) The vertical axis is infections. The horizontal … Continued