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3 Things You Should Know About The COVID-19 Vaccine

In all honesty, some level of skepticism about the COVID-19 vaccine is warranted. As a country, we've never experienced a situation such as this. In recent history, there has never been a virus as deadly and contagious as COVID-19. Moreover, there has never been a vaccine developed at such a swift rate.

That's why we're here to break down all of the pros and cons of the COVID-19 vaccine to help you make the most informed decision. It's your health we're talking about, after all, it shouldn't be taken lightly.

1. It doesn't contain the actual virus

First off, let's discuss what's inside of the COVID-19 Vaccine. As it stands, all COVID-19 Vaccines that currently exist are messenger RNA vaccines, or mRNA vaccines. mRNA vaccine technology has been studied for decades with a focus on other viruses such as the flu, rabies, and even Zika.

One benefit of mRNA vaccines is that scientists have the ability to apply a standardized mRNA "template" to new vaccines as new viruses are discovered. This means that scientists can tailor the mRNA vaccine to an individual virus to create vaccines at a rapid pace!

But how does it work? First off, mRNA vaccines contain strands of mRNA that function as a sort of instruction manual within the body. In the instance of COVID-19, these instructions tell the body how to create a fragment of the "spike protein" unique to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Since mRNA encodes only for spike protein (which is a harmful protein found on the surface of the actual virus), the vaccine itself cannot cause a COVID-19 infection.

2. There are very few side effects if any, and the ones reported are extremely mild

Generally, any side effects reported as a result of taking the COVID-19 vaccine were reactogenicity symptoms. This means that nearly all symptoms were mild to moderate and would dissipate after only a few days. These side effects include pain, swelling, and redness in the area where you are vaccinated (common for any shot), as well as chills, fatigue, and headaches which should also go away in a day or two. It's important to note that these side effects are more common after the second dose of the vaccine.

But what about the more severe side effects that have popped up in the news cycle? Each of these can be considered one-off occurrences as they are not above the rate expected in the general population. In fact, many of these reported side-effects are simply unrelated to the vaccine as these cases tend to pop up sporadically every single year. When comparing the rate of these cases over the last month to the same period last year, there is no data that suggests that these cases are statistically significant. As such, there is no scientific link between the COVID-19 vaccine and any of these harmful side-effects.

3. The development process was not rushed as it went through full regulatory and safety review

One of the biggest fears behind the COVID-19 vaccine comes from the rapid pace at which it was developed and tested in clinical trials. However, relative to previous vaccine R&D, the COVID-19 vaccine was actually developed at a controlled pace. Right from the get-go, several of the biggest pharmaceutical companies signed a pact that stated that corners wouldn't be cut in an effort to be first to market. But if we're being honest, people don't really trust Big Pharma companies, and for good reason. There's an extensive history of big Pharma cutting corners and exploiting others to make a profit.

The important thing to note here is that you don't necessarily have to trust Big Pharma to trust the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine. First off, all results from clinical trials are available online and show comprehensive testing for each stage of the development process. In reality, the fast-tracking of the vaccine was the sole result of upfront financing provided by the federal government to ensure that no shortcuts were taken.

In essence, the government paid for vaccines to be mass-produced without knowing whether or not they worked. While this can be interpreted as a waste of funds, it also means that the time between final trials and the first delivery of a vaccine (which can often take months from production to distribution) was basically cut out of the equation. This accounts for why the vaccine was able to be developed, tested, manufactured, and distributed at an unparalleled rate.


SPONSORED

3 Things You Should Know About The COVID-19 Vaccine

In all honesty, some level of skepticism about the COVID-19 vaccine is warranted. As a country, we've never experienced a situation such as this. In recent history, there has never been a virus as deadly and contagious as COVID-19. Moreover, there has never been a vaccine developed at such a swift rate.

That's why we're here to break down all of the pros and cons of the COVID-19 vaccine to help you make the most informed decision. It's your health we're talking about, after all, it shouldn't be taken lightly.

1. It doesn't contain the actual virus

First off, let's discuss what's inside of the COVID-19 Vaccine. As it stands, all COVID-19 Vaccines that currently exist are messenger RNA vaccines, or mRNA vaccines. mRNA vaccine technology has been studied for decades with a focus on other viruses such as the flu, rabies, and even Zika.

One benefit of mRNA vaccines is that scientists have the ability to apply a standardized mRNA "template" to new vaccines as new viruses are discovered. This means that scientists can tailor the mRNA vaccine to an individual virus to create vaccines at a rapid pace!

But how does it work? First off, mRNA vaccines contain strands of mRNA that function as a sort of instruction manual within the body. In the instance of COVID-19, these instructions tell the body how to create a fragment of the "spike protein" unique to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Since mRNA encodes only for spike protein (which is a harmful protein found on the surface of the actual virus), the vaccine itself cannot cause a COVID-19 infection.

2. There are very few side effects if any, and the ones reported are extremely mild

Generally, any side effects reported as a result of taking the COVID-19 vaccine were reactogenicity symptoms. This means that nearly all symptoms were mild to moderate and would dissipate after only a few days. These side effects include pain, swelling, and redness in the area where you are vaccinated (common for any shot), as well as chills, fatigue, and headaches which should also go away in a day or two. It's important to note that these side effects are more common after the second dose of the vaccine.

But what about the more severe side effects that have popped up in the news cycle? Each of these can be considered one-off occurrences as they are not above the rate expected in the general population. In fact, many of these reported side-effects are simply unrelated to the vaccine as these cases tend to pop up sporadically every single year. When comparing the rate of these cases over the last month to the same period last year, there is no data that suggests that these cases are statistically significant. As such, there is no scientific link between the COVID-19 vaccine and any of these harmful side-effects.

3. The development process was not rushed as it went through full regulatory and safety review

One of the biggest fears behind the COVID-19 vaccine comes from the rapid pace at which it was developed and tested in clinical trials. However, relative to previous vaccine R&D, the COVID-19 vaccine was actually developed at a controlled pace. Right from the get-go, several of the biggest pharmaceutical companies signed a pact that stated that corners wouldn't be cut in an effort to be first to market. But if we're being honest, people don't really trust Big Pharma companies, and for good reason. There's an extensive history of big Pharma cutting corners and exploiting others to make a profit.

The important thing to note here is that you don't necessarily have to trust Big Pharma to trust the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine. First off, all results from clinical trials are available online and show comprehensive testing for each stage of the development process. In reality, the fast-tracking of the vaccine was the sole result of upfront financing provided by the federal government to ensure that no shortcuts were taken.

In essence, the government paid for vaccines to be mass-produced without knowing whether or not they worked. While this can be interpreted as a waste of funds, it also means that the time between final trials and the first delivery of a vaccine (which can often take months from production to distribution) was basically cut out of the equation. This accounts for why the vaccine was able to be developed, tested, manufactured, and distributed at an unparalleled rate.


This Haunts Me: Dave Rubin's Bizarre Interviews with Larry King

This week, Larry King was hospitalized with COVID-19. Back in May, he argued with Dave Rubin about the necessity of lockdowns.

Update 1/5/2021: Larry King has been moved out of the ICU, and is reportedly breathing on his own in an LA hospital.

Larry King is a legend of broadcasting.

For more than six decades he has worked in radio and television, developing his signature interview style. His nightly CNN show Larry King Live ran for 25 years — into his late 70s. But even after it ended in 2010, King was far from ready to retire.

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2020 in Review: 12 Months of Unique Horror

A month-by-month review of the best and worst (mostly worst) of 2020.

2020 was a year when time lost all meaning and traditional markers of change — graduations, seasons, parties, holidays — blurred into an indistinguishable slideshow of Zoom calls.

Each month, it seemed, another unavoidable news story exploded onto the headlines, dominating attention, commanding every facet of our collective attention.

This year, each month seemed to have its own color, its own unique tune of horror that required both countless headlines and its own array of memes. As E. Alex Jung writes for Vulture, "Nothing made sense this year — unless you were on the Internet." Each catastrophic event, with its mind-blowing amounts of human suffering and its cataclysmic historical implications, took on new meaning when refracted through the mirror of social media.

In some ways, this year brought us closer together; in other ways, it tore open the last semblances of any illusion that we're all in the same struggle, instead revealing the brutal inequalities that define our society. When all faced with the same roster of calamities, it became clear that some people could suffer through while losing little save for the opportunity to go bar-hopping on Saturday nights, while others were pushed off the brink into the precipice of disaster (that is, if they hadn't already been swimming through the fetid ruins of the capitalist dream).

So, this list is not meant to be a universal summary of the way 2020 was horrifying. No list could ever summarize what 2020 or what a history of inequality and human greed has done to individuals around the world this year.

Instead, it's my reflections on the ways certain events seemed to dominate our collective consciousness in ways few events ever have before, let alone in such rapid succession.

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Follow the Science - Accepting The Temporary During COVID-19

And how do we apply the principle of "the temporary" not only to science but to our daily lives?

On a daily basis, we hear that we should "follow the science" with regard to COVID-19. What does that mean in the context of COVID, exactly? Moreover, based on humanity's lived experience of "following the science" what does that mean in general?

By definition, "science" consists of establishing and testing falsifiable hypotheses. Once tested, a hypothesis becomes established as fact until some new element of the testing environment finds it wanting in some respect.

As a result, scientists - or, more likely, a lonely iconoclastic scientist - test a new hypothesis that refines, or even explodes, the previous hypothesis resulting in a new hypothesis. That new hypothesis becomes the latest established fact and subsequent generations marvel at their benighted ancestors who accepted the previous hypothesis.

In other words, "following the science" means accepting the temporary positions of constantly evolving human knowledge. Such knowledge has been historically disproven when more refined measurement, better information, or a genius insight comes along. Given the shortening interval required to double the total sum of human knowledge, these positions become ever more temporary.

In terms of the development of geocentric astronomy, consider the millennium that passed from the ancients to Ptolemy. A mere 500 years passed before Copernicus revolutionized the field with heliocentrism. Only 200 years elapsed before Newton elucidated the laws of motion and gravitation.

True, it was the same 200-year interval that lapsed before Einstein's quantum leap to his theory of relativity. But less than 30 years later Fr. Lemaitre posited the Big Bang theory. Since then our knowledge of physics has evolved at such a dizzying pace that every few years there are groundbreaking discoveries that change our conception (or at least scientists' conceptions) of the universe.

Here's the point: when we "follow the science" we are correct for increasingly short intervals of time. This is because we are continually learning that fundamental elements of our understanding are wrong, or woefully incomplete.

Systems we use to describe the world have gaping holes that render a system such as geo-centrism obsolete with the introduction of heliocentrism. It was inevitable that heliocentrism would be usurped by the concept of an infinite ever-expanding universe - revealing our previous understanding to be at a preschool level compared to a doctoral program.

Following the science has long been the refuge of totalitarians. How did White Supremacists in the antebellum South justify their critical race theory? With science - carefully reasoned studies and tracts that they claimed to demonstrate the genetic inferiority of Blacks.

How did the Nazi party justify its version of critical race theory? With science - carefully controlled experiments on supposed genetic deficient populations carried out by the likes of Mengele.

How did the 20th-century Marxists justify wiping out millions in the Ukraine, the Cultural Revolution, or the Killing Fields - just to name a few? With science - as they touted the revealed truth of Social Science that requires the inevitability of class struggle.

Galileo on trial defending science

Even the Catholic Church - a supposed "enemy of science" - actually suppressed Galileo in the name of science. The real charge against him was not disagreement with his theories, but that he presented the theories as fact in the face of established science at the time.

Pick your bugaboo authoritarian regime at random and you'll find that each and every one bases its authority on "science".

So, let's bring this back to COVID.

The very same authorities have told us to "follow the science" all along. Not surprisingly, that science is constantly changing. COVID seemed nothing more than a nuisance until it turned into an existential threat to humanity that required shutting down our economy.

That shutdown was supposed to be two weeks so that we could flatten the curve. But then it turned into the oxymoron of eradicating an unstoppable, communicable virus.

Wearing masks was unnecessary until it turned out to be necessary. The virus wasn't transmitted person-to-person until we realized it was transmitted person-to-person.

The Swedish approach to minimizing economic lockdown was a grossly negligent mistake that put lives at risk. But then we realized that lockdowns themselves caused more human harm and suffering than the actual virus. This goes on and on, with breathless anxiety-inducing instructions as to what we should do as responsible citizens.

If we give this a charitable reading, we can assume people are acting in good faith who realize that their "science" changes rapidly as human knowledge of COVID expands. If true, then we should take their revealed science with a healthy dose of salt and wait for it to change in short order.

If we give it a less than charitable reading, then we can assume that this is an agenda propagated by authoritarians seeking power. In an election year during which so much power is at stake, this notion isn't at all far-fetched.

As for me, I go back to simple scientific discussions about diet. During my lifetime I've seen amusing swings in scientific opinion in this regard.

Are eggs good or bad for you? Sometimes eggs have been viewed as a death sentence by cholesterol consumption - guaranteed to give you a heart attack. At other times, eggs have been touted as an essential part of your diet that promotes brain health.

Is red meat good or bad for you? Sometimes red meat lurks as a killer. At other times red meat leads the way to weight loss and energy.

As it happens, I like both eggs and red meat. Indeed, I find myself to be more energetic, happier, and more productive when I include both in my diet. Others may disagree based on a different lived experience. Fine by me, but I suspect a scientist won't convince either one of us one way or the other. After all, we have our actual experience.

So, when people tell you to "follow the science" my recommendation would be to study this rapidly changing and evolving body of knowledge and get to understand what science actually means.

Further, I'd suggest that you question the agenda of anyone who presents "science" as a settled matter that only supports their own conclusions.

Finally, I'd suggest that the practicality of your own lived experience counts for much more than esoteric theory. After all, whether explained by Ptolemy, Copernicus, Newton, or Einstein, we find our feet firmly on the ground.

Margaret Caliente is a professional athlete turned internet entrepreneur and Manhattan-based journalist.

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How To Interpret COVID-19 Statistics

Stay Safe? - The Illusion of Safety

What I Learned as an American Living in London During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Even subtle cultural differences change how a country handles crisis.

On March 3rd, 2020, I left New York City to go spend three months in London with my longtime partner.

You likely recognize that date as shockingly close to when all hell broke loose around the world thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. As I was leaving NYC, there were already stirrings of unease surrounding a mysterious new virus that was making its way from China to the States, but very few people thought it would be anything but a passing inconvenience.

As it turned out, I likely already had the virus when I departed New York. I began running a fever the day I arrived in London. Still, I figured I had probably just caught a cold on the plane (this was before we knew what we know now, that the coronavirus was already extremely prevalent in NYC by March 3rd), and there was no way of knowing for sure, because tests were only available to people in the hospital with COVID symptoms. Soon, my partner also came down with symptoms.

As we recovered (we were both lucky to have relatively mild cases that lasted only a couple of days), we watched London slowly close down around us. First, theaters and public venues began to close, then office workers were told to stay home. Throughout it all, there was a reigning sense of calm and acceptance among the British people, even as the rest of the world began to panic.

BBC.com

The complaints I heard from British friends and acquaintances were never about the lockdown measures, but rather about the conservative government's hesitance to take more drastic steps and the lack of clarity surrounding what they expected the population to do to prevent the spread of the virus.

Still, I was struck by the difference in tone that I saw on my social media from American friends discussing the pandemic and the calm acceptance of the British people around me. Every post by an American discussing the pandemic used the word "I" over and over again and had a generally panicky tone. Meanwhile, the British were speaking with "we" and jokingly mourning their inability to grab a pint and watch football.

Sure, this composure was not true of every single citizen in the UK, just as panic was not every American's reaction, but there was a distinct difference in the responses I personally saw. In general, people who lived in London seemed quick to ask how they could help each other and their country, while many Americans seemed ready to batten down the hatches and take on an "every man for himself" attitude.

I was struck by this sign I saw outside a local corner shop in London:

Image of sign asking if anyone needs anything during COVID-19

Everywhere in London I saw examples of collectivism. While images were coming out of America of totally bare supermarket shelves thanks to people hoarding food and supplies to ensure their own comfort and safety, in London I watched two older women argue over who should take the last packet of chicken thighs. Both women insisted the other should have it.

Now that I'm back in the US, I haven't seen a thing like that in my local grocery stores, and while I know mutual aid networks are flourishing and neighbors are assisting each other in cities around the US, I've still been struck by our general lack of visible camaraderie.

It's no secret that the British government handled the COVID-19 crisis relatively poorly, but I was still struck by a sense of hard-fought unity I felt I shared with every average Londoner.

The British aren't an overly expressive people, but they're extraordinarily cordial. We Americans usually think of this kind of British decorum as a stuffy relic of the past that's only relevant in the event of an afternoon tea at Harrods, and perhaps that's partly true, but COVID-19 showed me just how deep this cordiality goes.

British decorum is not a form of politeness that's just about saying "Please" and "Thank you" or moving out of someone's way on the sidewalk; it's the kind of regard for your fellow man that makes it second nature to wait patiently in line if that makes a supermarket safer. It's an innate sense of obligation to each other that makes wearing a mask on public transportation an obvious and inarguably appropriate step to take during a deadly pandemic.

Sure, Brexit proves that nationalism is just as alive and well in England as it is in America, and in many ways Boris Johnson is a slightly less terrifying version of Donald Trump. But my time in Britain showed me that nothing can rid the British people of their ability to weather a storm as a united people, while I can't say the same of America.

On March 20th, Boris made the historic decision to close the pubs in the UK. For context, even during WWII, when London was being regularly bombed by the Germans, the pubs mostly remained open. This was the only time during my stay in London that I saw a collective outpouring of emotion.

I walked to my local pub out of curiosity that night (I had been two weeks without symptoms and told I was fine to leave the house), knowing that it would be closed indefinitely first thing the next morning. What I found was a sensibly socially distanced crowd of people laughing and singing and drinking together to mark the unthinkable day when the pubs would shut. Everyone was fast friends with their neighbor, and even the drunkest among us kept their distance and used hand sanitizer often. But there was a feeling of unity in the pub that night that I have never experienced in America. A sense that, as a people, Londoners would get through this by looking after one another in ways their government had nothing to do with.

Londoners survive; that's what they do. But the part of "keeping calm and carrying on" that doesn't fit as neatly on a poster is the additional impetus to help one's neighbors in big and small ways.

As we're forced to reckon with the failings of the American government during this time of political, social, and economic turmoil, I wonder if we should not also be looking at the pervasive sense of individualism that's so innate to our culture. I'm not even sure I fully recognized it until it became starkly obvious to me in contrast to a different culture.

Yes, the American government failed us in the way it handled the COVID-19 outbreak, but shouldn't we also interrogate our personal inability to care for each other without strict mandate from the government? Shouldn't we consider that true change can't come to America until we start taking personal responsibility for each other? Yes, we need to deconstruct the systems of oppression inherent in the American government that allow for widespread injustice. But we also need to ask ourselves everyday if we're asking the government to do the work that we aren't doing ourselves.

In the wise words of people who have been doing mutual aid work for generations: We keep us safe. It's time we take a page from Londoners' book and consider that politeness isn't just nice; it can also be an act of radical resistance.

Why 2020 Is the Best Year for Radical Climate Reform

In a year marked by multiple consecutive crises, climate change remains more relevant than you may think.

2020 is a cursed year.

Unless you live under a rock, or you're Jeff Bezos, you're probably suffering from crisis overload. COVID-19 has killed over 160,000 Americans to date, and millions are still without jobs. The nationwide protests against police brutality have brought into sharp relief the racism endemic in our policing and in our society at large. We're worried about our safety and the safety of our families, about job security, or about how we're going to pay rent this month. With the election just months away, we're worried about the state of our democracy and whether it will withstand forces that threaten to dismantle it.

Remember climate change? If it's recently taken up less of your emotional real estate than it did in, say, February, I don't blame you. There's only so much crisis a person can take at one time. But unfortunately, despite whatever else is going on in the world, climate change continues its steady march toward the point of no return, which scientists say is about 15 years out.

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How To Interpret COVID-19 Statistics

How are the powers that be twisting the facts?

Mark Twain once observed, "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics." Those in the legal profession might say: "There are three kinds of liars: simple liars, damned liars, and experts."

Data can be manipulated and presented to support a specific narrative or a particular conclusion. Because of this, you'd be well advised to seek out and analyze data for yourself, as opposed to allowing others to summarize and present that data for you.

A number of data sources are particularly helpful regarding the COVID pandemic. Instead of relying on others to draw conclusions from raw data, you're better off analyzing for yourself.

Three things really matter in the discussion of COVID-19:

The Infection Rate

The infection rate not only tells us about the spread of the virus; ultimately it informs about the lethality of the coronavirus. Of course, lethality is difficult to measure during an outbreak, especially when so many infections are asymptomatic.

Indeed, a Penn State University study estimates that the number of people infected in March 2020 was 80 times the officially reported number (in other words, there were 8.7 million more infected people in March than reported).

Estimates of lethality vary, but the early projection of 3.4% from the WHO appears to be wildly overstated. Dr. John Ioannidis of Stanford makes the case for a lethality of 0.25%. You can monitor the confirmed infection rate for yourself on a daily basis, including by state, at a helpful site from USA Today that posts data from Johns Hopkins University.

By watching this number – a minimum (as stated by USA Today), due to the great number of asymptomatic and unreported cases – you can correlate the rate of infection with other key metrics.

As of today, the new cases curve looks like this:

COVID-19 cases tracker

The Death Rate

Bearing in mind that any death in which the deceased has tested positive for Covid has been classified as a "Covid death" regardless of other contributing factors, you can monitor daily deaths at the same USA Today site.

Safeguarding human life should be our main concern, so please look at the data critically. On June 25th, for example, a spike appears in the data which, after digging through data state-by-state, incorporates results from a retroactive reclassification of ~1,800 deaths in New Jersey as COVID-related.

It's helpful to cross reference with the Worldometer site to identify any large daily discrepancies that could result from retroactive changes. By watching this number, including data concerning state levels, you can begin to correlate the tragic human toll of this disease with infection rate and public policy.

You can also start to draw conclusions as to both lethality and improvements in treatment over time. As of today, the death rate curve looks like this:

COVID-19 deaths tracker June 25th reclassification of ~1800 deaths by NJ.

The Hospitalization Rate

The need to "bend the curve" and avoid overwhelming our hospitals initially drove the lockdown strategy. So, understanding the actual rate of hospitalization nationally remains very important. The CDC publishes that rate on a weekly basis, helpfully sorted by age group.

As of July 4th the hospitalization curve looks like this:

COVID-19 associated hospitalizations

In addition, the CDC publishes state by state data with regard to hospitalizations so you can see the situation on the ground. As of July 10th, Arizona has an in-patient COVID occupancy of 28.4%, followed by Texas and Florida at 16% each.

The national picture looks like this:

COVID-19 in-patient beds

Realize that these important metrics only take into account the COVID variable itself; they don't deal with the economic and collateral public health consequences of public policy. As public health officials - such as Dr. Fauci - clearly state, they don't advise on economics or on the broader impact of health policy recommendations.

I suspect that most people are quite able to judge the impact of policy on themselves, their families, and their communities.

The point of this article is to encourage everyone to take advantage of the information that is readily available - and the above is only a start. You should think critically and form your own opinions.

Obviously, any data set will be a snapshot of a given moment, but it allows you to access that data and monitor it over time.

Margaret Caliente is a professional athlete turned internet entrepreneur and Manhattan-based journalist.

Coronavirus Updates: Can Asymptomatic Carriers SpreadCOVID-19?

New evidence suggests asymptomatic transmission is less likely than previously thought.

On Monday, a representative from the World Health Organization called asymptomatic transmissions of the coronavirus "very rare." This was quickly bolstered by conservative lawmakers to call for the end of social distancing guidelines and the mandatory wearing of face masks. Many health experts and scientists questioned WHO's statement, citing a lack of evidence.

Today, WHO has walked back their original statement, clarifying that the observation "was based on a relatively small set of studies," and, "Evidence suggests people with symptoms are most infectious, but the disease can be passed on before they develop."

So What Happened?

Essentially, the original statement was referring to a small set of data from various countries in instances where an asymptomatic case had been followed up and secondary infections among the asymptomatic person's contact had been sought out. This data suggested that infections among the people the asymptomatic person had come in contact with were "very rare."

The WHO emphasized today that there is no way of knowing if this trend is true on a global scale.

According to the BBC, the Director of the WHO's health emergencies program, Dr Michael Ryan, said he was "absolutely convinced" asymptomatic transmission was occurring, but "the question is how much."

What Exactly Does Asymptomatic Mean, Anyway?

According Dr Van Kerkhove, the WHO's head of emerging diseases, there are three categories within the designation of "asymptomatic."

  • People who never develop symptoms (asymptomatic)
  • People who test positive when they don't yet have symptoms - but go on to develop them (pre-symptomatic)
  • People with very mild or atypical symptoms who do not realise they have coronavirus
So, while people who never develop symptoms are unlikely to pass on the virus, it's impossible to know if someone who has tested positive is truly asymptomatic or merely pre-symptomatic. If they are pre-symptomatic, then they are more likely to pass on the virus.

Should I Continue to Social Distance and Wear a Mask?

Yes. There is still so much that experts don't know about the spread of COVID-19, so while some evidence may suggest the virus isn't as easily passed on by as many people as previously thought, that doesn't mean you won't contract the virus if you aren't careful.

Dying While Dying: COVID-19 & Police Brutality in Black America

We looked for 2020 to be the year of Exodus from all of the strife of the previous decade(s). But, it seems that we might have to endure a few more plagues before we see the Promised Land.

2020 was supposed to usher in a decade of change and elevation. On December 31, 2019, personal and social resolutions were at the forefront of our minds as we collectively waited for midnight. For Black Americans exclusively, this was the hope that the atrocities from the 2010s in regards to race relations wouldn't accompany us. Still, it seems we've become more engrossed in the fight for our right to exist on several fronts.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused an unprecedented paralysis in the world both economically and emotionally. Millions are without jobs, adequate health care, and engaged leadership. African Americans are the most impacted by the disease. As of June, there have been over 21,000 COVID-19 related deaths in the Black Community nationwide. Pre-existing health conditions and challenging living situations act as barriers preventing proper social distancing and protection/recovery. Though coronavirus is an unexpected nemesis for Blackness to combat, an old foe is still ever-present.

Currently, foreign and domestic protests and riots have erupted in response to the multiple deaths of unarmed Black men and women at the hands of law enforcement. The murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on Memorial Day has captured the world's attention. In an 8 minute and 46-second clip, America has yet another lifelong lasting image of an unarmed African American male screaming, "I Can't Breathe" - an unholy sequel to the video of Eric Garner uttering those exact words in 2014 as his life was brutally driven from his body.

George Floyd

If Floyd's death was the explosion on a global scale, then Breonna Taylor's death was undoubtedly the fuse. Back in March, the 26-year-old Louisville EMT worker was fatally shot eight times when the Louisville Metro Police Department entered her home serving a no-knock warrant.

Overwhelming feelings of helplessness, anger and fear due to coronavirus, coupled with the recent murders at the hands of the authorities, have exacerbated our current temperaments. We are expected to adhere to the pleas of law officials and politicians to shelter in place and social distance when the particular cases of Floyd and Taylor indicate the antithesis of these requests when put into practice by the police.

Breonna Taylor Graduation

While dealing with a faceless adversary in COVID-19, African Americans remain engaged in an ongoing battle with a known opposition. Black people have become savants at juggling multiple issues of our survival. But balancing civil unrest and possible contagion simultaneously, and at this magnitude, is an ask that is too great - despite our resiliency.

BLM Neighborhood Peace March

At the risk of further spreading coronavirus, the streets are running wild with rebellion. However, the sickness of racism, of injustice, is a pandemic that has been ever-present since this country's inception. We looked for 2020 to be the year of Exodus from all of the strife of the previous decade(s). But, it seems that we might have to endure a few more plagues before we see the Promised Land.

Dwayne "Deascent" Gittens is a Hip Hop artist, On-Air Personality, & Content Creator from The Bronx. Follow him on Instagram & Twitter @Deascent.