Progress on a Vaccine, and Staying Informed During a Crisis

Please read this Los Angeles Times article (from the AP newswire) carefully, and thoroughly. A link appears at the end of this post.

Most people don’t enjoy reading, or they don’t have the time. There can be a temptation to look at the bold print above a news story, or skim the first couple of paragraphs, and consider the job done.

When you were in high school, your teachers probably got irritated with students who did that because the teachers had already read the material and knew how easily it could be misinterpreted by someone who was careless.

The article below is about the COVID-19 vaccine developed by scientists at Oxford University for AstraZeneca. The details must be read meticulously by anyone who wants to stay informed, especially because the second paragraph contains an apparently contradictory statement.

There’s no contradiction, and you can actually gain general knowledge for future reference if you keep an open mind and are willing to absorb new information.

The key is being aware of our own ignorance and inexperience. Know what you don’t know, as some people like to say. Dealing responsibly with this pandemic relies heavily on that because even the scientists were babes in the woods when the research began. COVID-19 began infecting humans only about a year ago, and that was the first time it was feasible to address the illness as something that poses a threat to us.

Choose your news sources carefully. If a report seems a little bit too entertaining, be suspicious. Fox News, ridiculous tabloids and many local newscasts focus on appealing to something other than the intellect, and that spoon-fed, we’ll-do-your-thinking-for-you reporting can cause you to act against your own interests.

Forget how nice the news anchor looks in that party dress, and sound the alarm in your own head if no one explains anything.

For balance, a second link, in which scientists express concern about a lack of data in AstraZeneca’s announcement, is included below.

AstraZeneca, Oxford COVID-19 vaccine up to 90% effective – Los Angeles Times (latimes.com)

Experts have questions about AstraZeneca’s vaccine data (msn.com)

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