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  • Reporter: The coronavirus has mutated.

  • Reporter: Some strains are far more infectious

  • Reporter: It doesn't prove that this new strain

  • is in fact more infectious.

  • Abby Tang: Hello, fellow skeptics.

  • It's me, Abby!

  • There is a lot of information flying

  • into our eyes and ears at any given moment.

  • And it can be hard to tell sometimes

  • what's true, what's not.

  • So I grabbed three of the most common talking points

  • that you're probably seeing on your feed,

  • two truths, one lie,

  • and I did a little digging.

  • Truth No. 1: It's OK to go outside!

  • It's really nice out here.

  • But social distancing is still the best way

  • to control the spread.

  • Both things can be true.

  • I'm a big fan of this viral blog post

  • by an immunologist who delightfully puts

  • all his credentials on the front page of his blog.

  • But he's very up front about not claiming to be an expert,

  • and some of the work he cites hasn't been peer reviewed yet,

  • so I ran it by our senior health reporter Anna.

  • She said, "Looks good."

  • The whole post is a solid read,

  • but the main takeaway is this:

  • Successful infection equals exposure to virus

  • multiplied by time.

  • Basically, the more viral particles you're exposed to

  • and the longer you're exposed to them,

  • the more likely you'll be infected.

  • Sorry about this gross picture!

  • But this cough can apparently contain

  • up to 200 million virus particles,

  • a number that I could not find in original source for

  • but shows up everywhere,

  • so let's take it with a grain of salt.

  • Point is, if a sick person coughs right into your face,

  • breathes, too, but to a lesser degree,

  • your chances of getting infected are gonna be high.

  • Which is why going over to a friend's house...

  • not ideal.

  • But if you just walk by someone on the sidewalk,

  • chances are you're gonna be fine,

  • because you're limiting the amount of time

  • you're being exposed

  • and the number of particles you're being exposed to

  • by not locking yourself in a room full of them.

  • So going outside is super-low risk

  • as long as you're staying physically distant.

  • I think this quote from a previous Insider article

  • sums it up perfectly:

  • Erich Anderer: Outside is better than inside,

  • open space is better than closed,

  • fewer people is better than more people,

  • and stay away from sick people.

  • Or, better yet, stay home

  • if you're not feeling well yourself.

  • Abby: Thanks, Erich.

  • Truth No. 2: The virus that causes COVID-19

  • is mutating all the time.

  • It's true that viruses mutate.

  • Viruses mutate more often

  • than practically any other organism.

  • But we shouldn't be treating it as a big,

  • scary thing, which a lot of places have.

  • Which is exactly how this study turned into this,

  • then had to be corrected into this.

  • First, it's worth noting that this paper

  • has not been peer reviewed,

  • which it does say in the study, at the top,

  • in bright yellow, right before saying

  • it should not be reported in news media

  • as established information.

  • But peers have been informally reviewing it on Twitter,

  • and at least one epidemiologist, Bill,

  • thinks the paper itself is fine.

  • So, based on that, the problem is in interpreting the data.

  • The first headline says that the mutant coronavirus

  • is more contagious than the original.

  • But while the mutated strain of the virus is more prevalent,

  • we don't know if it was the mutation that gave it a leg up.

  • There are other factors,

  • like the fact that this particular strain

  • happened to show up on the East Coast,

  • which responded to the outbreak more slowly than the West.

  • And this is something that happens all the time,

  • but mutation is not a dirty word.

  • Bill put it best in his tweet:

  • "Mutations are what happens when genomes replicate.

  • Comes with the territory like showers with the springtime."

  • Poetry.

  • And if you want to know what mutation actually is,

  • I made a whole entire video about it

  • that you can see here.

  • And now the lie:

  • COVID-19 only kills older people

  • and those with preexisting conditions.

  • Here's why this meme really gets my goat.

  • The goal seems to be to quell some panic,

  • but what it really does is spread misinformation.

  • As far as we know at this point,

  • anyone can die from this disease.

  • Old people, healthy people, children.

  • Yeah. Unfortunately, there have been

  • a couple documented cases.

  • This study is a little on the older side,

  • but it's still the biggest one we have.

  • The death rate is absolutely lower

  • the younger and healthier you are.

  • But do you want to be one of the few in that 0.2%,

  • guy from my Facebook feed?

  • I'm gonna say no.

  • As new information comes out

  • about who this virus is most dangerous for and why,

  • the risk by population adjusts.

  • Which is a really complicated topic,

  • so if you want to learn more about it,

  • my colleague did a video here.

  • But new information only changes what we know about risk;

  • it doesn't eliminate it.

  • And, yeah, I don't want to die from this,

  • but I don't want to be sick either.

  • This CDC data suggests that 30% of cases

  • and 20% of hospitalizations in the US

  • are people between the ages of 20 and 44.

  • And recovery can be a slow and painful process

  • that could take months.

  • Bottom line: Low risk doesn't mean no risk.

  • So protect yourself and the people around you

  • by being cautious.

  • Not panicky, but cautious.

  • So there you go: two truths and a lie.

  • Add them to your Hinge profile.

  • And if any of this sets off

  • your this-is-complete-crap-ometer, great!

  • Stay skeptical.

  • Fact-check me; my sources are in the credits.

Reporter: The coronavirus has mutated.

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B1 US mutation reporter exposed risk strain abby

Two Truths And A Lie About The Coronavirus

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