Do Your “Own” CoViD19 Research?

A handful of observations to aid earnest CoViD conversations.

When faced with a need for additional information, centuries of sensible people have rallied to “do research.” But right in the midst of this century’s most deadly viral pandemic, a subtle new variation on this ethos has emerged: “do your own research.” Is that the same thing? And why the distinction?

We spoke to a bunch “do-your-own-research” advocates and found that a number of important CoViD-related observations had escaped their attention, but struck them as valuable when they were shared. After a bunch of these conversations, and after noticing a couple trends, we made this collection for people earnestly seeking clarity about CoViD19 and vaccines. We propose that the observations collected here reflect the preponderance of evidence — irrespective of any narrative.

When/if we err in this collection or fall behind new developments, please let us know. It takes a village to keep this stuff straight — and a bunch of honest goodwill. Let’s pull together.

Common CoViD19 questions & concerns that we’ve encountered:

Have COVID deaths been exaggerated (and misattributed)?

Topic of the day:
Vaccine cynics often postulate that officials, someone in county after county, state after state, and country after country is exaggerating 1) CoViD death counts and 2) the virulence of the SARS-CoV2 virus in order to advance a nefarious agenda. These conversations frequently come around to “excess mortality curves” (for good reason!), but that has a way of veering into some now-common misunderstandings. We hope this animated explainer might serve as an aid to help people get on the same page in those conversations. It’s worth watching to the end!

Like/follow this vid on TikTok, Twitter, or YouTube to help spread the word.
Video references are in the YouTube description here.

It’s not crazy that leaders pause to take CoViD19 seriously, since it arose suddenly and it’s killing their constituents on a substantial scale.
• CoViD19 was the leading cause of death among law enforcement officers in 2021.

• CoViD19 has been the leading cause of death in the US at several points in the pandemic, occasionally surpassing cancer and heart disease (pink line, below).

CoViD19 changed the mortality dynamics of many countries ~overnight.
KFF’s broader summary is here.

This interactive graph, below, tracks the extent to which unvaccinated Californians died disproportionately from CoViD19. The disparity has ranged from 3.2X to 12.9X over time.

Select another common point of CoViD confusion, below.

Many, many studies have demonstrated that vaccinated people are less likely to get so sick from coronavirus disease that they die or require hospitalization. We hope this point has been so exhaustively proven that it does not require extensive proof here, but still it is interesting to consider the variety of sources on this point in early CoViD publications.

This parade of graphs illustrates that the protection is observed in place after place.
CoViD hospitalization rates by vaccination status:

CoViD death rates by vaccination status:

Please select another common point of CoViD confusion, below.

This topic is slightly more complicated, but important to many CoViD vaccine conversations.
CoViD19 vaccines were developed primarily to protect against serious coronavirus disease. Studies find that they are highly effective in that regard. Many studies have also found that, for some period of time after vaccination, vaccinated populations experience SARS-CoV2 infection at a lower rate than comparable UNvaccinated populations.

Some scientists have called that protection against infection a desirable, temporary side effect of CoViD vaccines. Just to emphasize: protection against severe disease is the primary goal of CoViD19 vaccines. Partial protection against some infections is a real and fortunate side effect. That seems like a constructive way to think about this topic.

A person can still get infected with SARS-CoV2 after vaccination, but many vaccinated individuals are spared from getting an infection that they would have gotten without their vaccines. Inevitably, those who were protected from an infection will never know they were spared. The only way to detect that protection is through careful population-level counting and math.

The level of vaccine protection against infection depends on many things including time since last vaccination, variant of encountered coronavirus, and other factors.

This parade of reports just illustrates that the phenomenon has been observed in place after place.

This collection of reports that document reduction in CoViD19 transmission was taken from Dr. Dan Wilson’s video notes here:

Another recent study tracked prisoners (red, below) and prison guards (blue) whose vaccination and infection statuses could be very closely monitored. The original paper is here. In each section of this figure, trends move down (more vaccine doses) and to the right (stronger protection against infection). We just adapted these figures by adding the lines to connect the points within treatment groups.

This is one of many studies also showing that, whether or not individuals had a prior CoViD infection (the 3 main sections of the table), vaccines still provided further measurable protection against viral infection.

Select another common point of CoViD confusion, below.

CoViD19 is different than influenza in many important ways, which have been documented extensively. These are just some short (tweet-length) examples.

1) Direct comparison of outcomes in CoViD19 vs flu patients in one large study:

Open the full thread (it’s short) for additional info.

2) CoViD + history of cancer = worse outcomes (compared to flu):

Open thread (it’s short) for additional info and link to original paper.

3) Second and third CoViD infections can be progressively more injurious:

Open the full thread (it’s short) for additional info.

Select another common point of CoViD confusion above or below.

Some people argue that CoViD19 is mild for most people, therefore precautions against infection and circulation are overbearing and/or foolish. That logic is worth evaluating in a broader context. For example, 90% of poliovirus infections were also mild, but ~1% of them were debilitating or fatal — much like CoViD19. Making public policy based on the exuberant voices of those in the 90% would be irresponsible from some perspectives that also matter. We’re in this together. Together we have to optimize the balance of consideration and caution.

Open tweet here.

It’s not crazy that leaders pause to take CoViD19 seriously, since it arose suddenly and it’s killing their constituents on a substantial scale.
• CoViD19 was the leading cause of death among law enforcement officers in 2021.

• CoViD19 has been the leading cause of death in the US at several points in the pandemic, occasionally surpassing cancer and heart disease (pink line, below).

CoViD19 changed the mortality dynamics of many countries ~overnight.
KFF’s broader summary is here.

We don’t know how the SARS-CoV2 virus may evolve going forward, and the pandemic is not over (see Excess Mortality video, above).

Select another common point of CoViD confusion, above or below.

Thomas Jefferson wrote “wherever the people are well informed they can be trusted with their own government.” If he was right, we all have a stake in helping each other to be “well-informed.” While we’re working that out, it seems important to consider the possibility that “research” means something different than “your own research” to a lot of people. What’s the difference?

Traditionally “research” works to optimize control groups, sample sizes, and experimental conditions to discern patterns in complex situations. Sometimes it produces troves of information like the diverse, complex collection of 735,779 different papers/reports in WHO’s COVID-19 Research Database. By contrast, I’m getting a sense that “your own research” gives permission to ignore any subset of those studies that contradict certain cherished ideas. People who talk about their “own” research seem to have an affinity for thoroughly debunked research. Why might this be?

Science proceeds by attempting to falsify and stress test its models of reality in order to find weak links — so that the understanding can be refined and strengthened over time. Pseudoscience often proceeds by denying, ignoring, and obscuring observations that challenge cherished ideas, so that those ideas might seem strong to adherents.

None of us asked for a health-destroying viral pandemic, but that’s what we got. We are fortunate to have each other’s company while we sort this out. Let’s pull together.

Maybe. In the most literal sense of that phrase, maybe it is.

If art speaks, perhaps this virtue is just worth putting out there. Planting the flag. There’s too much vaccine disinformation in today’s public discourse. Too much obfuscating good science and elevating bad. We hope this art can be a small symbol of reason around the world, raise a visible presence of vaccine reason, and make a small contribution to rebalancing the ratio of vaccine gratitude to vaccine hostility.

At the time of this writing we’ve sent clothing to spike fashionistas in 18 countries and 47 states. Join the flashmob?


This page is new, never finished, and always evolving. It will be amended and updated over time. Check back for new information or subscribe here to receive a note when we make substantial updates.

The Vaccinated.US project was launched to elevate the ambient level of awareness, clarity, and gratitude for the scientists, leaders, and medical professionals who work earnestly to make our world safer. When you buy molecular art from the Spike Shop you improve the general ratio of vaccine reason to vaccine hostility (or, perhaps, you just join us in that quixotic notion). All proceeds go to science education and the development of new informatics tools to accelerate cancer research.

The “Heart of the Matter” molecular art series shows an on-axis view of the SARS CoV2 spike protein with 3 alpha helices projecting out toward the viewer. The name reflects the heart-like shape that the molecule presents in this orientation. New fangled printing technology allows us to print these molecular structures in exquisitely high resolution — it’s really worth seeing.

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One response to “Do Your “Own” CoViD19 Research?”

  1. Thank you for your support of MicrobeTV.US and Vincent in his work!! Having correct scientific information for all of us is so important!!