It's Your Call

Your decisions are only as good as the data from which you are forming assumptions. Am I right? You know I am! It is incumbent upon each of us to make the very best decisions for ourselves, our families, and our communities, so it is therefore incumbent upon each of us to use good sources. I have some tips for you:

  • Use regular sources. Every researcher is going to include some institutional bias, it’s impossible not to…so keep your source the same. If numbers err on one side or the other, you aren’t being flip-flopped across the COVID scenery.
  • Look for the most qualified. It’s not your family doctor or some yahoo in another state. You want the expertise of a virologist or an epidemiologist. Someone who specializes in pandemics begins with a broader base of information and is uniquely prepared to give you better information.
  • In firsthand accounts, look for the frontline. The doctor and nurses who are treating patients and dying a little themselves with each one they are unable to save know what’s true and what isn’t.
  • Pay attention to numbers. Anecdotal studies have a small population, a very narrow focus, and are not a good jumping-off place for making broad decisions. They are interesting. They may make you go, “Huh!” Nothing to see here, move along folks.
  • Learn to live with the vagaries of science. When I was in high school, I was taught that babies had 46 chromosomes. In nursing school, I learned they now had 48. The original basis had been discovered in treating Downs Syndrome babies, and yes, they did have fewer chromosomes, and no, it was not normal. Science is like lumbering through a snowstorm…sorry for making a reference to cooler weather when we’re in the throes of summer. It’s two steps forward, a correction, one step backward, consolidation of an idea, replication of results. It’s not a straightforward journey. We’ve been watching too many NCIS or CSI programs and suffering under severe delusions.

Scientists don’t have mass spectrometers that identify the missing piece of the puzzle when Gibbs walks into the room. They labor under precise laws requiring them to prove their theories (as opposed to your cousin Shirley, twice removed.) My top 5 represents the most stable platform for getting and assessing information and the soundest wisdom upon which to make family decisions.