Monday, June 29, 2020

Denver Mural COVID 19 Hoax?

Does this 1994 mural at the Denver airport show a prophecy of COVID-19?

Nope.  This is a hoax.  This painting was recently done and it is not at the Denver airport. 

It is a piece called "MASK-COMMUNICATION" It was created by a Filipino Christian Joy Trinidad for COVID-19 awareness. Christian did the painting to remind that clear communication and unity should still dominate to eradicate COVID-19.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

COVID 19 Vaccine Trials Guinea Pigs?

A friend shared this article

The article is very positive, yet somehow many are taking it as a negative and spouting conspiracy theories such as
 "You know why I’ll tell you why because black lives don’t matter"
 "Bill gates and Fauci have a goal to delete the world population by a lot so they go to Africans first"
"They test shit out in Africa because they don't give a shit about them."
"Why didn't they use this on the Americans first? No, no let's test it on the Africans first...see if it doesn't make you go blind and have your toenails fall off ."

Do these concerns and assertions hold any weight?

No not at all.

First off, I think people misread the headline in thinking this is the first vaccine trial for COVID-19.  It is not.

They are doing trials in various countries around the world. There are various different types of vaccine potentials going to trial in England, South Africa, USA, China, UAE, Canada and so on ( I can find 36 potentials as of writing this). Each one is currently in different phases.
The US government is choosing three vaccine candidates to fund for Phase 3 trials under Operation Warp Speed: Moderna’s mRNA-1273 in July, The University of Oxford and AstraZeneca’s AZD1222 in August, and Pfizer and BioNTech's BNT162 in September. 
The South Africa one is a phase 3 (UAE, Brazil, England and China also have phase 3 trials launching). To understand the basic idea of the stages of testing:
Also understand that each country may have different time periods in approving the fast-tracking of vaccines right now.    So this is helping the lives of POC (People of Colour) and not the opposite as some would suggest.

In the ABC article it actually explains "African leaders have been outspoken about the continent being elbowed out in the intense global competition for medical supplies in this pandemic..."  So hence this is a good thing that they are doing one of the trials in South Africa.  Also consider "WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged that the supply of any COVID-19 vaccine be deployed where it’s most needed, rather than based on the “ability to pay.”   With some African countries starting to rise quickly, after loosening lockdown restrictions, these countries could become hotspots very soon.

In regards to the Bill Gates depopulation statement  see:

One Facebook post I saw said this (another one trying to state fallacious info about Bill Gates and vaccines):
"I swear I was reading an article about this when they came around with malaria vax. And they went straight for Africa. Although the vax did eliminate malaria. It had a huge side effect of making women sterile and unable to bear children." 

Well one would hope they would go to the area of the world most affected by Malaria.  So I don't understand the person's problem with that rationale.  As for the claim of making women sterile, I'll just let Snopes handle that:
Whatever vaccine is used, the sterilization claim always seems to be tagged on.

Misinformation about vaccines can have devastating consequences (as we saw in Samoa 2019 with anti-vaccine proponents causing considerable harm by convincing a large portion of the population to not get vaccinated).  It is important to think rationally and to seek out qualified expert advice and not that of cranks. Being anti-vaccine is hurtful and dangerous to POC in Africa.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

GM Mosquito

A friend asked me about this article.  My response:

Well "anonymous" is famously not a great source (they get some things right and some things wrong) so that's always taken with a grain of salt for me. That being said, it is true that the company is looking to release the GM skeeters (males only). The idea behind them is sound in regards to reducing the skeeter population. Male mosquitoes don't bite and only feed on flower nectar. So they aren't harmful to humans. The male GM skeeters will mate with females. The female offspring will die, but the male offspring will grow and then mate and thus reducing the population. The EPA has cleared a new version (the company tried in 2016 and was denied). However, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District have to approve. The Texas releases aren’t scheduled until 2021. As with any initiative, there are valid concerns/questions (like will the decrease of the skeeter population mean less food source for other creatures). There are also some concerns that are way off base (like will they infect humans and cause infertility). Looking at the study they (anonymous) are citing proves that wild skeeters are strengthened: .  
You'll see that upon peer review, the conclusions are being questioned: 
So this part at least is a clear indication of anonymous not looking into their own sources further and just relying on confirmation bias to report. 

Thursday, June 18, 2020

COVID-19 Spread Map

This map is being passed around on social media.

While the map is technically accurate, it is a little misleading when you are not reading the information correctly. 

Here is the original source:

You'll note that not in every country does it show the distribution of the confirmed cases but instead a single dot to represent the total confirmed cases.  In Canada each dot represents the total for each province and not the distribution in that province.  Thus this is why it doesn't show any red dot in Toronto for example.  

This map from April 6th 2020 shows the distribution in Canada a little better than the Johns Hopkins map

So while the point of the original meme poster may be valid (as of writing this blog post has it that the USA is at 2,258,341 cases and Canada 100,148 cases) the map used can give the wrong impression.

Monday, June 15, 2020

COVID Charity Scam

I totally forgot to post this months ago (whoops).

This obvious scam is not just relevant to the COVID-19 pandemic, but happens continuously through various rewrites and tagged on current issues.  This particular person claims to be from the military (this is somehow supposed to create sympathy).  Now why someone in the military couldn't afford internet is strange to me.  What's even stranger is the person is using up his data to talk to people who are not his daughters.  What's even even stranger is the person is supposedly in the city of the person he is talking with.  There are lots of free wifi areas (heck you can drive up next to a McDonald's or Tim Horton's and access their wifi from outside the building).  Also, I do not quite understand how some of these gift cards get you internet access lol.   All around so much doesn't make sense with his appeal.

Home Depot Giveaway Scam

Another day another giveaway scam.

Do not share these links.  Home Depot (and other companies like Pizza Pizza, Walmart, Molson's, etc...) are not giving away free products or large sums of money to everyone who shares some link.
These links often request information that can be used to either identity steal, send viruses or tag you for future scams as they view you as gullible. 

You'll note that the font on the preview link has odd accents.  It also has a weird website with "B-TSXQUIL(dot)com"  That is obviously not a Home Depot website.

So to counter the person who posted the reply that it is arguably worth a try:  Ummm, no it's not worth a try.

For other similar scams see: