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Use reliable sources

To the editor:

I try to read information disseminated about the COVID-19 pandemic to learn recent developments about the pandemic. There is a lot of information published on COVID-19. Two articles from The Associated Press published in December contained information that is not factual. Neither article had an author.

The first article from Chicago was published on Dec.18. The article claimed to debunk myths about COVID-19. One of the “myths” was that the “virus was man-made.” The article claimed that the virus occurs naturally and that bats spread the infection to humans. The article also tried to discredit the Chinese virologist who left China and bravely reported about the virology lab in Wuhan. The truth is that the bats who carry COVID-19 live in caves hundreds of miles from Wuhan. There is no evidence that these bats are sold in the wet-markets. There is a virology lab in Wuhan. There is no evidence that COVID-19 was naturally passed from bats to humans. Anyone who does not believe that governments have altered biological species to cause harm to people needs to read “Germs” (2002) written by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists Judith Miller, Stephen Engelberg and William Broad. This book describes their investigation of this subject.

The second article from Washington published Dec. 22 stated the following about “herd immunity.” “Herd immunity is short-hand for a theory — rejected by most public health experts — that society can be best protected by allowing younger people to get infected and develop natural immunity until vaccines are widely available.”

The above information is totally false. “Community and Public Health Nursing” (2012) by Harkness and DeMarco states the following about herd immunity, which is the accepted definition for this evidence-based phenomenon in public health. “Herd immunity — type of immunity in which a large proportion of people in a population are not susceptible to a communicable disease and the few people who are susceptible will not likely be exposed and contract the illness.”

Herd immunity has been accomplished for some communicable diseases, such as smallpox, through the use of vaccines. There has been a re-emergence of some communicable diseases, such as measles, because people erroneously believed that vaccines cause autism and other problems and disseminated this false information. This has exposed many people to diseases which were almost totally eradicated in our country.

The above paragraphs contain two examples of erroneous information that was disseminated by the AP. This information could endanger the health of many people. Doesn’t the AP employ fact-checkers or editors who evaluate the truthfulness of the information that they disseminate? How are we supposed to believe anything published by the AP?

These two examples demonstrate that we must get our health information from reliable sources. Two excellent sources for information about herd immunity are the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health website and the Mayo Clinic website. I caution everyone to seek the best information about health issues including COVID-19. Seek your information from the experts, not questionable news sources.

Michalene King

Wintersville

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