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Online Encounters

Updated: Jan 25, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic had ignited and still ignites many discussions, some more scientific and to the point, raising legitimate questions about different aspects of it - the virus composition, the immune response, testing, symptoms and vaccinations to name a few. In addition to that, the internet, an already nourishing petri dish (sorry) for hot-headed dimwits, was flooded with conspiracy theories and a lot of fake news and false assumptions.

This metaphoric shit-storm had brought many doctors and scientific personnel to go out on the hunt of myth busting and anti-vaxxers shaming, all in the name of science and public health (and of course, their egos, but we never talk about that)! This and the overwhelming amount of falsehood had made the initial process of first assessing the claims presented and their tone (suggestive, question, factual etc) into an immediate stress response of ad hominem verbal diarrhoea towards said claimer.

I'm not the least embarrassed to say I was recently caught up at the wrong end of such a discussion (is there a right one though?), when I was called many things and my intellect and and reasoning abilities were mocked as well as how reliable and supported my claims were, before the other side of the encounter had the chance to both assess my claims properly (as in - making sure you really understand what I'm saying) as well as the very important part of introspection (meaning asking yourself if perhaps you got it wrong and are actually the moron).

It was a discussion about the reliability of the swab tests for COVID-19 in which I questioned the reliability of the swab tests (Hughes, 2020) and claimed they are not 100% reliable and brought to their attention that there are many factors at play when considering a test reliability; even if the test in optimal lab conditions handling of the samples, whether or not the swab was taken properly, the storage of the specimen until it was actually tested all affect the accuracy and reliability of the results (Watson, 2020).

I would like to take advantage of this platform to encourage you to think before you act. It's easy to forget there's a person on the other side and that we ourselves are also humans who make mistakes.

Take a deep breath, make sure you come to the only possible conclusion and support your claims without crossing boundaries. Not only you risk hurting other people (though maybe you don't care about that and you're hence, a jerk) you're also risking making a fool of yourself, and just think what would that do to your external locus of evaluation. Stay safe and be nice goddammit!

References: Hughs (2020) Experts question claimed accuracy of Covid-19 saliva tests, The Guardian (4 December 2020), Available at [Online] (accessed 4 January 2021) Watson (2020) Coronavirus: How accurate are coronavirus tests?, NIHR ARC West blog, Available at [Online] (accessed 4 January 2021)

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