A Blog by Jonathan Low


Sep 16, 2021

Nicki Minaj and the Mainstreaming of Anti-Science For Social Media Attention

Celebrities including rappers like Minaj, professional athletes and actors are spreading the doctrine that being vaccinated to battle a virus that has killed 660,000 Americans - 1 in every 500 - is somehow a personal choice which is their 'right.' 

Much of this resistance appears based on misinformation which has exacerbated false fears that the vaccine will somehow affect their sexual performance. It is especially pernicious as it has found favor in minority communities that have already suffered from exceptionally large numbers of illnesses and deaths. If there was ever a campaign targeted at the health of such groups it is this one. JL

Aja Romano reports in Re/code:

What Minaj’s opinions represent isn’t just her lack of knowledge giving rise to wariness over the vaccine. Her fear has been bolstered by years of anti-vax campaigns, as well as a strain of distrust in public policy, health, and science experts. 'Vaccine caution' is just as dangerous as outright vaccine science denial. The “do your research and decide what’s right for you” approach that celebrities endorse is disingenuous. It undermines centuries of epidemiology by suggesting that vaccine safety boils down to how you, personally feel about vaccines. We may be making “My cousin in Trinidad” jokes for a long while. The unfortunate influence of Minaj’s vaccine resistance could last even longer.

Healthy, Vaccinated - And Determined To Get A Covid Booster Shot

Given the continuing high numbers of those who are unvaccinated - and the aggressive non-compliance with prudent safety measures like masking by many others - many Americans are making the decision to get a third, booster, shot without waiting for government approval. JL 

Jennifer Steinhauer reports in the New York Times:

The number of Americans who are not immunocompromised but have obtained extra shots is about 1.8 million people since mid-August. Many seeking early boosters fear that breakthrough infections could inconvenience or sicken them — or worse, they say, someone they love. Most do not feel they are taking a dose from someone else, as vaccines are widely available in the United States and a local pharmacy is not in a position to shift shots to nations that need them.

Why the Workplace Covid Honor System Isn't Working

The post-truth, post-fact, anti-science era has created differing moral standards based on utterly irreconcilable beliefs. 

That has created an atmosphere of mistrust in offices as employees cant be sure who is vaccinated, who is healthy - and who is telling the truth about it.  

Ray Smith reports in the Wall Street Journal:

The honor system (is) one in which health information is given voluntarily, and employees have few ways to be sure their co-workers are following the rules. For workers, living with honor-system-based Covid-19 rules has meant confusion and, among vaccinated employees, fresh anxieties. “You’d see people wearing masks and you didn’t know if they were wearing their mask because they were unvaccinated or because they were vaccinated but felt uncomfortable in public. You don’t really know who’s vaccinated. ”

The Reason Businesses Are Gleeful About Biden's Vaccine Mandates

Businesses and other enterprises have largely embraced the reality that vaccination is the only way to end the pandemic and prevent a decline in economic recovery. But opposition by some segments of the population could deprive them of crucial employees in the midst of a labor shortage.

The vaccine-or-test mandates give all organizations cover to demand vaccination while being able to blame the federal government for doing so. JL

David Goldman reports in CNN:

Corporate America had been trying to navigate two competing pandemic realities: trying to get back to business as usual, mandating vaccines is the best way to accomplish that. But (due to) a labor shortage, businesses have worried that forcing people to get the shot would send some employees and potential new hires packing. President Biden gave a gift to every major company in America by forcing them to mandate vaccines or stringently test employees. That's a blessing to companies which have been searching for the cover the Biden administration just provided them.

Sep 15, 2021

Who Should Get the Nobel Prize For mRNA Covid Vaccine Development?

The research goes back to 1987. Alot of people claim credit. It's complicated. JL 

Elie Dolgin reports in Nature:

Some of the furore in discussions of credit for mRNA discoveries relates to who holds lucrative patents. But much of the foundational intellectual property dates back to claims made in 1989 by Felgner, Malone and their colleagues at Vical (and in 1990 by Liljeström). These had only a 17-year term from the date of issue and so are now in the public domain. Looking back, many say they’re just delighted that mRNA vaccines are making a difference to humanity, and that they might have made a valuable contribution along the road.

New Study Finds Remote Work Is Boosting Productivity

Many managers remain skeptical of remote productivity and question research that disagrees with their opinion, but the absence, to date, of any data suggesting remote work has reduced productivity suggests that it will continue to be an option for the foreseeable future. JL 

Kyle Wiggers reports in Venture Beat:

A recent Stanford study that found working from home increased productivity among a group of 16,000 workers by 13% over the course of nine months. Attrition rates were also cut by 50%, with employees citing a quieter, more convenient working environment as a major advantage. Regardless of where they’re working, employees depend on organizations’ willingness to invest in optimizing the value from processes and technologies — as well as reinventing their business models.

Latest Polls Reveal 60 Percent Plus In US Support the New Vaccine Mandates

What is fascinating is that these numbers reflect the results of the California recall election. JL

DailyKos reports:

3 in 5 Americans favored Biden's main provision requiring employers with 100-plus employees to either vaccinate their workforce or implement weekly testing. Requiring most U.S. health care workers to vaccinate (no opt-out for testing): 60% - 34%. Encouraging states to require vaccinations for all school employees: 62% - 32%. 64% say they continue to engage in mitigation efforts in everyday activities. 79% support employers requiring workers to take rapid antigen tests in order to gain access to the workplace.