The COVID-19 mRNA vaccine: What is it and how has it been developed so quickly?

The Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine has been approved for use in the UK from the week commencing 6 December 2020. This means that the UK has become the first country in the world to approve the vaccine for widespread use. MHRA, the British regulator, says the jab, which offers up to 95% protection against Covid-19 illness, is safe for distribution. Continue reading The COVID-19 mRNA vaccine: What is it and how has it been developed so quickly?

Is there a greater chance of dying by being hit by a bus than by COVID-19?

CLAIM: There is a greater chance of dying in a bus collision than by COVID-19.

CONCLUSION: INACCURATE. The probability of a randomly selected resident of Great Britain dying from January to October 2020, with COVID-19 mentioned on the death certificate, was over 3,000 times higher than the average probability of dying as a pedestrian in an accident involving a bus or a coach in the same period. Continue reading Is there a greater chance of dying by being hit by a bus than by COVID-19?

The accuracy of COVID-19 death statistics

In summary:

    • Three sets of figures regarding numbers of deaths attributed to COVID-19 are collated which crucially vary in their timeliness. 
    • We now know that COVID-19 was not the cause of death for one in 10 people who had symptoms of the virus mentioned on their death certificate.
    • Conversely, 90% of people whose death certificate mentions COVID-19 were killed by it.

Continue reading The accuracy of COVID-19 death statistics

What is group screening for COVID-19?

Summary 

Group screening takes samples from multiple people, mixes them together, and tests them as one. People within a group that test positive are individually retested, or an algorithm is used to identify positive individuals.

Pros: Fewer tests to process; more people tested; lower cost; detection of asymptomatic cases.

Cons: It is not efficient when the infection rate is high. Continue reading What is group screening for COVID-19?

Can a medicinal tea ‘help with’ COVID-19?

CLAIM: Online articles continue to circulate with claims of the curing properties of tea. Basile ‘G-Star’ Sery told a newspaper reporter that “Coronavirus is mucus blocking the oxygen supply and [his] tea can flush out the mucus” and “help with coronavirus”.

CONCLUSION: INACCURATE. There is no evidence of tea curing or alleviating the symptoms of COVID-19. In fact, according to the World Health Organization, there are no medicines that have yet been shown to prevent or cure COVID-19.  Continue reading Can a medicinal tea ‘help with’ COVID-19?