COVID symptom tracker app, fake news, and Rachel jumps

Doctors and scientists at King’s College London have developed an app called COVID symptom tracker. You can download it to your smartphone and each day report how you’re feeling, even if you’re feeling well. The data will be used to learn more about the virus and how it spreads. I have not had any symptoms and so have just been inputting each day that I’m feeling well. You can look at the map online to see what percentage of people in your area are experiencing symptoms. The more people who use the app the better the data will be.

Good data and facts are so important at a time like this. This week a fake news story about 5G causing coronavirus went viral. At first, I thought it must have been an April Fool’s joke because I couldn’t understand why people would believe it but there really was a conspiracy theory and people really did believe it, so much so that mobile phone masts were set on fire.

Another fake news story I’ve seen shared more than once is that the virus cannot survive in temperatures above 27C despite the fact the human body is 37C. According to potholer54’s (potholer is a science journalist) YouTube video, the BBC tracked down the source of this claim to an 84 year-old-man named Peter who said, “Everything I posted I believed genuinely to be the truth and factual”. The problem is Donald Trump sees crap like this and repeats it on national television with sometimes tragic results. For instance, a man died after consuming a parasitic treatment for fish after watching Donald Trump talk about the anti-malarial drug, chloroquine, as a possible treatment for coronavirus.

We are all responsible for fact-checking the things we say and share on social media. It’s not enough to say “I genuinely believed it to be the truth and factual”. What did you do to come to that conclusion? Did you check the source of the information? Who is the author and where was it published? Does the author have any expertise in this area and is the source a reputable one? Are there similar reports from other sources? Are there references and if yes, did you check them?

On other matters, since I’m not able to get any jumping shots at medieval castles and lochs I thought I’d get a jumping shot from the trampoline instead.

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