Fake news, faith, passive and tail risks

The world was hit by a once in a century pandemic, a virus that was deadly enough to kill millions but innocuous enough to spread easily and widely. We battled to scale up intensive care beds, ventilators, testing facilities. Healthcare workers battled exhaustion and heat stroke in PPE kits. We pooled all our resources in a global effort to develop vaccines. What do you think was the biggest challenge of them all?

Not the challenge of developing a vaccine faster than ever done before, not keeping economies afloat while lockdowns and shut downs ran businesses into the ground. No, the most insurmountable challenge of them all is battling the misinformation sent on WhatsApp by your friendly neighbourhood fake news uncle. The one that sends you good morning GIFs followed by critical pieces of information about the pH level of the virus and how to counter it with warm water and juice that was stirred clockwise three times at noon.

A first of its kind mRNA vaccine was developed in 2 days after getting the genetic code of the virus and deployed in a year after testing, but no one can stop WhatsApp uncle and his fake news. Not all the governments or scientists in the world. No mask can filter it, no air purifier can stop it.

What are the implications? We will probably never reach herd immunity and end this pandemic. Governments are trying to speed up vaccinations but sooner or later, they are going to hit a wall and not have any more people willing to get vaccinated. The fake news virus got to them first and immunised them against the vaccine. Why risk living a long life when you can die early from a preventable disease?

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When should you take homeopathic medication?

Homeopathic_medicineWhen I was a kid, there was a homeo doctor nearby who we used to go to. Not every time we fell ill, but often enough to call him ‘uncle’. When my sister got chicken pox, my parents took me to him to get preventive meds. When many people in the house fell ill or there was bug going around, we would go again. Sometimes it would work and at other times even the preventive meds wouldn’t stop it. It wasn’t a big deal and I hardly gave any thought to it over the years. Homeopathic medicines and doctors were widely available and accepted in India and still is. You just wouldn’t always go to one. Usually you went for a cold or fever when your parents didn’t want you to keep popping a lot of allopathic pills with side effects.

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