You learn something new everyday!

I like to post quotes that resonate with me from time to time and this:

…and this:

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.

…caught my eye. It was attributed to Darwin, and I had no reason to believe he didn’t say it. The variations in the quote were probably a flashing neon sign that I didn’t see. Something compelled me to look up the quote online and it turns out it’s a misquotation.

One so prominent, it was featured in the California Academy of Sciences (until they removed the Darwin mention).

The real quote seems to be from Leon C. Megginson, Professor of Management and Marketing at Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge. While the quote itself is a good one, it is a lesson in knowing when to fact check and research (hint: ALWAYS!) – something I will do for all quotes I post in future.


Sources:

Do you need to wear a face mask outside?

Face masks have become part of our new normal over the past year both indoors and outdoors. While they’re highly recommended inside heavily populated areas like supermarkets/grocery stores and public transport, there’s not much guidance when it comes to outside.

According to Monica Gandhi, MD, MPH, the risk of catching COVID-19 outside is quite low.

“The risk of outside transmission is very low because viral particles disperse effectively in the outside air. A study in Wuhan, China, which involved careful contact tracing, discovered that just one of 7,324 infection events investigated was linked to outdoor transmission. In a recent analysis of over 232,000 infections in Ireland, only one case of COVID-19 in every thousand was traced to outdoor transmission. And a scoping review from the University of Canterbury concluded that outdoor transmission was rare, citing the opportunity costs of not encouraging the public to congregate outdoors. Overall, transmission is around 5000 times less likely to happen outside than inside.” (Posted April 27, 2021)

Monica Gandhi, MD, MPH
Infectious Diseases doctor and Professor of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco

… so, does that mean that we ditch our face masks and get some fresh air? With the vaccination programmes across the world coming along more efficiently and effectively we’re edging closer and closer to that point.

However, until it’s fully safe to do otherwise, we should all continue to maintain social distancing when around people who aren’t in our households, support bubbles or friendship groups.


The quote is taken from Sciline’s ‘Quotes From Experts‘.

raising awareness vs raising alarm

Quote for PS-3

Raising awareness versus raising alarm; the public can’t be better informed if the information isn’t better. — T.K. NALIAKA

In the wake of everything happening today, I think this is an important quote (unfortunately, I couldn’t find a source).

People are confused, scared and angry and as far as I can see, no one has really come up with an adequate way to keep the general public informed without regurgitating a series of numbers and data sets that won’t offset their anxiety.

What’s the death count today?” is now common question as opposed to, “what’s the latest information?”

For example, while Wikipedia has an extensive timeline for COVID-19. When you click onto April,  it’s mainly a report of cases and deaths – that’s great for statisticians, but not so much for the general public. The Financial Times has an interactive guide that is much better, but the graphs may be tiresome to people who don’t find them easy to follow.

General members of the public tend to feel at ease when they can understand what is happening. Presenting the information as numbers/data makes it difficult for everybody to follow what’s happening beyond the dark nature of COVID-19. Two months ago, it was unheard of to hear that 20,000+ people had died. Today, after hearing that hundreds have been dying every day – that number loses its bite.

It’s clear that information channels need to be improved in order to prevent alarm and desensitization to what’s happening.

That being said, it’s unsurprising that there are so many resources and not much clarity. A virus of this nature is one that nobody was prepared for. Here’s hoping that in time, the information will be better.

© Purplexed Science 2020

P.S. I’ve compiled a small list of resources here (and will continue to add to it).

should people be making their own hand sanitiser?

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cooking hands handwashing health
Photo by Burst on Pexels.com

If you haven’t heard already, the incidence of COVID-19 is now increasing across the globe increasing the likelihood of it being declared a pandemic (a disease that affects people worldwide i.e. in multiple continents).

Action plans and predictions have been flying around over the past week due to the worsening spread of the virus in Iran, South Korea and Italy. The UK has seen its cases grow and the US reported its first virus-related death over the weekend.

Growing concerns have led to mass buying of essentials like hand sanitisers – an effective tool in combating the spread of the virus. Continue reading “should people be making their own hand sanitiser?”

Should people be worried about Coronavirus?

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What is coronavirus?

Coronavirus is the scientific name for a group of viruses that cause things like common colds and more serious illnesses like SARS (severe acute respiratory symptom). They can be transmitted from humans to other humans or from animals to humans.


Why is it in the news today?

The coronavirus we’ve been hearing about is a new strain of the virus that nobody had come across before it struck patients in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China last year. It has now been named COVID-19 (Corona Virus Disease 2019) and as of yet, there is no vaccine. It is a serious issue now because of the rate at which it is spreading and the fact that it can be fatal.

As of writing there has been 79,000 reported cases and over 2400 deaths (you can keep up to date with the current figures here.

According to one of the first reports on Coronavirus by the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention the majority of reported COVID-19 cases are mild. However, the disease has the potential to be severe, or in worse cases – critical. Continue reading “Should people be worried about Coronavirus?”

Rare Diseases

RARE DISEASE BANNNER FOR PURSCI


What is a rare disease?

According to the European Union, rare diseases are classified as one that affects less than 5 in 10,000 of the general population. Similarly, the NIH defines it as: ‘one that affects fewer than 200,000 people’. This means that it’s possible that most people aren’t aware that rare diseases exist unless it affects them personally.  Moreover, if we consider that the world is made up of 7 billion people, these rare diseases don’t seem so rare after all. 

It is estimated that up to 25 – 30 million Americans are affected by rare diseases. Similarly, it’s said that 3.5 million people in the UK and 30 million people in Europe are already/will be affected by rare diseases.  Continue reading “Rare Diseases”