“Is this article consistent with the latest thinking and knowledge in science?”
“Would experts in this field endorse the main message of this article?”
These are the types of questions our “feedbacks” are designed to answer. If the feedback is positive, you can generally assume the information you’re reading is of high credibility. If it’s negative, however, you may want to read with extra care and attention — some of the information contained and conclusions reached are not consistent with science.
Misleading Wall Street Journal opinion piece makes the unsubstantiated claim that the U.S. will have herd immunity by April 2021
in Wall Street Journal, by Marty Makary
"The article’s claim that the U.S. is near herd immunity rests on two numbers: 1) the detection of infections by testing (claimed to be 10 – 25 percent) and 2) the infection fatality rate (claimed to be 0.23 percent). Using the same number of deaths as the author indicates that 0.15%/0.6% = 25% of the U.S. population has been infected, rather than two-thirds as the author claims. Thus, the author’s argument that 55 – 66 percent of the U.S. population has already been infected and has immunity is not supported by available data."
— 26 Feb 2021
New York Post article makes speculative, unsupported claim that mutation could enable the virus causing COVID-19 to evade handwashing and mask-wearing
in New York Post, by Jackie Salo
"The preprint that the article focuses on actually says nothing about the most egregious claim made in the article: that the virus is evolving to get around hand-washing, masks, etc. This comes from a quote from someone who’s not an author on the preprint, giving an opinion about the preprint…on a topic not covered by the preprint."
— 08 Oct 2020
Telegraph article describing the hypothesis that face masks can variolate a population receives mixed reviews on its scientific accuracy
in The Telegraph, by Georgina Hayes
"The Telegraph headline is obviously misleading but the subheading is accurate. Masks don’t give immunity; rather, the argument is that infections are milder or asymptomatic and allow immunity without severe disease. The article is essentially true to the NEJM commentary, however a reader could become confused and think that the article suggests masks give you COVID-19 immunity."
— 24 Sep 2020
Potential role for T cells in COVID-19 immunity accurately reported in National Geographic article
in National Geographic, by Carrie Arnold
"The article accurately discusses the recent findings about the presence/relevance of T cell response against COVID-19. Indeed, both arms of adaptive immunity, humoral and cellular, contribute in different ways to the body’s fight against viral infections. What remains to be seen and explored in greater detail is how important the role of antigen-specific T cells is in protecting people from a re-infection or ameliorating the disease symptoms."
— 19 Aug 2020
People who do not show symptoms can contribute to significant COVID-19 transmission, contrary to CNBC report
in CNBC, by William Feuer, Noah Higgins-Dunn
there is already “abundant data” showing that people who are not showing symptoms—which could include asymptomatic, presymptomatic, and paucisymptomatic individuals—comprise about 40 to 50% of COVID-19 cases
— 10 Jun 2020
COVID-19 vaccine candidate by Pittsburgh scientists show promising results in animal studies, but clinical trials still needed before efficacy in humans is known
in Pittsburgh Magazine, by Garret Roberts
Scientists who reviewed this article’s scientific credibility found that the reporting was generally accurate. However, they also highlighted a missed opportunity to provide readers with more information to place the research findings in context. Ian Frazer, immunologist and professor at the University of Queensland, pointed out that the article “assumes that an immune response in mice would equate to protection of humans against viral infection, but there are many examples where that is not the case”.
— 11 Apr 2020
Viral New York Post article perpetuates the unfounded claim that the virus that causes COVID-19 is manmade
in New York Post, by Steven W. Mosher
Overall, Mosher’s argument is based on unfounded speculation and scientific inaccuracies. Such claims, which continue to be perpetuated even by public officials, have real-world repercussions. Peter Daszak, epidemiologist and president of the EcoHealth Alliance who has collaborated with WIV researchers, warned during an interview with the journal Science: “These rumors and conspiracy theories have real consequences, including threats of violence that have occurred to our colleagues in China.”
— 02 Mar 2020
New York Times accurately reports vaccine-derived polio outbreaks caused by low vaccine coverage
in New York Times, by Associated Press
"The content of the article is correct: attenuated polio strain type 2 contained in the oral vaccine can – in very rare cases – mutate and cause disease in under-immunized persons. However it might be good to specify that if the vaccine coverage is good, this will not happen (so the vaccine coverage has to be maintained, since it has prevented 13 million cases since 2000, according to the WHO)."
— 02 Dec 2019
Daily Mail article misleads with clickbait headline claiming cowpox-derived virus will “kill every type of cancer”
in Daily Mail, by Zoe Zaczek
"This article substantially overhypes early pre-clinical work with a viral therapy that has not yet been tested in even the earliest stages of human clinical trials. The headline is particularly misleading as I can find only three published papers suggesting the therapy has efficacy in lung, breast and colorectal cancers in cell lines and mouse models only."
— 20 Nov 2019
Washington Post article provides accurate and insightful report on recent spate of vaping-related illnesses
in Washington Post, by Lena H. Sun and Lindsey Bever
"At the moment, it is not possible to know if these pulmonary diseases are related to propylene glycol, glycerol, nicotine, flavorings, or more likely, synthetic/natural drugs sometimes added to e-liquids. Although vaping has deleterious effects on the lungs, e-cigarette vaping has been shown to be safe for over 10 years now... I firmly believe that this new epidemic is linked to synthetic cannabinoids, which unfortunately could be popular among young people"
— 13 Sep 2019
 Note: These feedbacks do not constitute endorsements of the author’s political or economic ideology, rather they are assessments of the scientific foundations and reasoning of the argumentation contained within each article.