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Extra Credit – Advice in the Social Media Era

In our current society, social media and technology is king. There are countless apps and websites to interact with anyone in the world at any time and I think we’ve almost become too used to that mind boggling fact. The best advice that I would be able to give in the modern day is to remain as private as possible. Whether that be having a username that is not, your name. Keeping your accounts private so that only you know who follows you and sees your content, or maybe going completely incognito and not even posting yourself at all online. For example, another family member of mine has a Twitter in order to keep up with news around the world, but she never comments, likes, or posts anything herself. She has a randomly generated username, no profile picture and follows a limited number of accounts. I understand that this probably doesn’t sound fun being in high school, making all kinds of new friends, and wanting to share your life and experiences with all of these people. However, this happens to almost everyone where once you are maybe a senior, or graduated, you kind of wish you never posted anything, or followed so many of these people, and really feel like just deleting your accounts or clearing them all out. So, the main point of that is would just be to regularly check through these accounts and everything you’ve posted, commented, and everyone you follow. Also, it’s important to do this because you can always be monitored without your knowledge whether it be an employee, employer, or other situations where something you may have said or done can come back to hurt you. I think today’s world of social media is a very tricky one to navigate that can really lead to more harm than good, so overall just always keep your privacy and protection as your top priority in mind when using these sites.

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Curation Assignment

With the pandemic still going on and not getting all that much better, booster shots have become a hot topic with the possibility of them being released very soon:

CBSNews: Booster shots have now been approved for three new groups: seniors 65 and over, nursing home residents, and adults at least 50 or older with underlying health conditions. The CDC has also approved certain groups of adults to receive a third shot if they work in an area of risk such as health care, prisons, teachers, and grocery workers. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/pfizer-covid-19-vaccine-booster-shots-seniors-cdc-endorse/

FDA.gov: New news was released on the specific groups that are eligible to receive a Covid-19 booster shot by the FDA. They were able to amend the emergency use authorization (EUA) for Pfizer’s vaccine as long as these recipients have had their vaccine at least six months prior. Those who are considered to work in high risk occupations and those with underlying health conditions have been bracketed to ages 18-64 as booster eligible. The data that was used to get permission for this emergency use was because the “FDA analyzed safety and immune response data from a subset of participants from the original clinical trial of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine.” https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-authorizes-booster-dose-pfizer-biontech-covid-19-vaccine-certain-populations

NPR.org: This article by NPR (https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2021/09/24/1040420009/booster-shot-for-covid-pfizer-science-do-i-need-one) is an important one because it goes through common questions asked by everyday people in regards to booster shots. Questions such as who qualifies for or needs one, if their job is one that qualifies them for a shot, and assistance in navigating all of the health officials’ statements. It also answers an important question for many of us in school in regards to the Delta variant and if that means younger vaccinated individuals need a booster soon as well. However, the article states that “there’s plenty of evidence that you don’t need to.”

CNN.com: This next article comes from CNN and it relates grealty to the last point made by the NPR article. Not everyone needs a booster shot right now, in fact if you are not apart of the first three groups, it is recommended you wait. The first reason was that it is simply just too soon for most people, which relates to the next two in that there isn’t enough evidence to justify boosters for everyone and researchers and experts would like more data first. Plus, the last and most important reasoning in my opinion, was that they think it’s important to get everyone just vaccinated the first time around rather than rushing out booster shots. https://www.cnn.com/2021/09/17/health/fda-advisers-booster-five-things/index.html

Catalyst.phrma.org: Overall, the pandemic is not anywhere close to over. Covid-19 continues to mutate into new variants, meaning more research and data is needed, more vaccines are needed, and a continued effort from all of us is needed. However, on a brighter side, “over 370 million doses have been administered in the U.S.” and billions worldwide. The world’s top scientists are continuing to develop variant resistant vaccinations and health care workers are still putting their life on the line everyday. One of the most important things discussed is the ongoing effort in the world to have equal access to vaccines in all parts of the world. https://catalyst.phrma.org/a-year-and-a-half-later-the-biopharmaceutical-industry-remains-committed-to-beating-covid-19?utm_campaign=2021-q3-cov-inn&utm_medium=pai_srh_cpc-ggl-adf&utm_source=ggl&utm_content=clk-pol-tpv_scl-beh_std-usa-all-pai_srh_cpc-ggl-adf-COVIDVaccinesYearandAHalfSearchWCNational3-cov_vac-edu-inf-lrm-soc_txt-std-vra-adf&utm_term=&gclid=Cj0KCQjwkbuKBhDRARIsAALysV5QrWENbyY3kMEa5Kg9BWtIeFB-18BKao6hBEkXebP-7Vt1BnnpU-YaAjOUEALw_wcB

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“The Grandmother Situation”

As I was reading the introduction to this week’s assignment I couldn’t help but laugh at how relateable it was. I even read the description to my mom because right away we both thought of my grandmother/her mom. In the last two or three years my grandma got herself a smartphone, and then eventually, social media. Ever since then, she has constantly been sharing and reading conspiracy theories and false information on really important matters such as the election, Covid-19, and unfortunately social justice issues. The things she has seen and heard has lead her to differ from the rest of us on these important issues and lead to some uncomfortable conversations and arguments.

When discussing things with older generations, it can be very difficult to change their mind. They have had their own beliefs and ideas for decades while society and information has drastically changed over these years. Personally, me and my family have never been successful in attempting to have a genuine conversation about these things with my grandma. We’ve tried to explain to her that certain words are problematic now, vaccines are important, and the election was not fake, but we were quickly shut down by Facebook rumors and misinformation about all three of these ideas. She is a person that no matter what approach is taken, just will not listen. Even when we acknowledge what she thinks, provide facts, and explain why things are the way they are, to her it is just all wrong. I think that is what is the hardest about trying to help older generation understand changing times is that they can be very stubborn (of course not all people are like this).

I think the best course of action in order to help with the spread of misinformation and the education of misinformed people, is just to overload on factual information. There’s no need for arguments, to state that they’re wrong, just simply provide helpful links to articles or news that shows the true credible information. Of course, this can still cause problems such as being unfriended, having your comment deleted, or an argument. However, I feel like staying positive and keeping a helpful tone is the best thing to do because no matter what argument is presented, facts cannot be ignored. If anything, at least you and others will know what’s true. Also, by providing your own information on these topics, you may be helping others who truly did not know what was true or what to believe.

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Vaccinations Amongst the World’s Best Athletes

With the 2021-22 NFL season getting underway this past Thursday, and continuing on Sunday, they are taking a lot of measures to ensure the safety of the league’s players, staff, and fans. In an article written by Chase Goodbread on August 26 of this year, he showcased the new vaccination numbers and statistics for the league.

He begins by stating that the NFL is now at a 93% vaccination rate from its players and 99% from staff members, which he learned from the NFL’s chief medical officer Allen Sills. After over 7,000 tests were administered only 68 tests came back positive. Also, to point to the effectiveness of the vaccine, only 0.3% of vaccinated players tested positive while 2.2% of positive tests were from those without a vaccine. Allen Sills is a very credible source because after all, he is the lead medical officer who represents the NFL and discusses these issues with media. He’s had this position since March of 2017 and in fact, he was the NFL’s first chief medical officer. He graduated from Mississippi State University with an engineering degree but also got a medical degree from Johns Hopkins University of Medicine where he became a neurosurgeon and still serves as a professor at Vanderbilt University. During the pandemic he has coordinated with the NFLPA (NFL Players Association) and the CDC, as well as having prior experience in sports medicine with the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies and the NHL’s Nashville Predators.

The NFL themselves have tried to alter their guidelines in order to encourage vaccines among players such as weekly tests rather than daily tests, compared to unvaccinated players getting tested daily including off days before being allowed to enter any facilities or interact with any other players. While many players have publicly stated their discontent with the NFL, many more have been encouraged to get vaccinated and protect those around them and ensure that this NFL season will go uninterrupted.

As for Chase Goodbread, he has been writing on sports for decades. He started out as a high school football writer in Florida and has seen many future NFL stars and Hall of Famers come up through high school, to the NCAA, to the NFL. Prior to joining NFL Media, he covered Alabama University football for the Tuscaloosa News and Tidesports.com. He is a very established and credible writer who has covered every level of football, gains credible sources such as Allen Sills, and provides links to his outside sources such as CDC data.

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News vs. Opinion

The first two articles I am going to present are my factual news articles. The two sources they are coming from are The Washington Post and The New York Times.

Article 1: https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2021/09/03/covid-delta-variant-live-updates/

The Washington Post article is about the delta variant and how unvaccinated teens are facing much more hospitalization than vaccinated teens. What really opens my eyes about this is that in the early days of Covid-19, it was said that the elderly and those with compromised immune systems were the people who needed to be really careful. However, with these new variants and with Covid continuing to mutate, everyone is at risk. We’re seeing younger and younger groups of people being highly affected by the virus and further proving the importance and effectiveness of the vaccine. According to the CDC, unvaccinated teenagers were hospitalized 10 times more than vaccinated teenagers. These numbers were taken from the age groups 12-17 across 14 states from June 20th to July 31st. With these new alarming numbers, a booster shot seems to be needed very soon for those already vaccinated. This source is a very reliable one as The Washington Post is of course an established credible news source. One thing that is very important about their articles is that they provide statistics and sources with the facts that they provide

Article 2: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/03/health/delta-children-hospitalization-rates.html

The next article comes from the New York Times. This one follows a similar path as the last one. However, it discusses how the Delta variant is affecting even younger children and the age group that was supposed to be the least susceptible to the virus. This group of data that they pulled from extended to 49 states as opposed to the Washington Post’s data pool of 14 states. Their studies have shown that since the surge of delta, children under 4 years old had 16.2 cases per 100,000 kids, 1.9 cases per 100,000 in ages 5 to 11, and 2.9 cases per 100,000 in children between ages 12 and 17. Now, while this doesn’t seem like a lot these numbers continue to rise, and as we’ve seen with Covid, things can happen very quickly. It won’t take much time for the virus to mutate and find more ways to infect younger and younger groups. Which once again points to the importance of vaccines and now getting the youth vaccinated and getting approval for toddlers and children to get their shots. Plus, some children did end up dying because of this variant. According to the studies, 23.2% of children were admitted to the I.C.U., 9.8% required mechanical ventilation, and 1.8% of these children tragically passed. Covid-19 will take an entirely new terrifying shape if it ends up becoming effective in hospitalizing and killing young children.

The next two articles are from CNN and ABC and they classify as opinion and analysis pieces. The CNN article is an opinion article while the ABC one is the analysis.

Article 3: https://www.cnn.com/2021/08/14/opinions/blunt-truth-what-comes-next-covid-sepkowitz/index.html

This article by CNN is about what this writer feels will happen as Covid-19 continues and life after it “passes”. (We of course know it will never fully go away but until it is contained and dormant). This article is by Kent Sepkowitz, and he begins by talking about the 1918 Spanish Flu as evidence for his prediction. While he does state that it is impossible for anyone to know what will happen, here was his thoughts. He predicts that we will see a worse and more horrifying wave of cases with Delta than the original lockdown we had. He states this because of the areas in the U.S. that are highly unvaccinated and the return of school. Schools are bound to become Covid’s best friend as there is so much close contact with hundreds of thousands of people every single day. From the elementary level all the way through college, there is going to be a massive rise in cases. He also points to the fact that the country did such a terrible job in containing the virus in its early days that we are still seeing the repercussions by how quickly variants are emerging and spreading. Which also leads to the worst case scenario, a variant arises that renders these original vaccines we’ve gotten, useless. Overall, he states that we will eventually get past Delta. But whether it is by way of vaccine or suffering is up to the people. He states that Covid will be here for a long time coming and will fluctuate in the coming years with good years and bad years, more effective shots than others, but that we still should focus on the present and do everything we can. This article was a reliable source to me because for one, Kent is a writer for CNN which is a known credible source. Also, his predictions seemed very educated based on prior pandemics and what we have seen with Covid up to this point.

Article 4: https://abcnews.go.com/US/combating-covid-vaccine-misinformation-black-latino-communities-opinion/story?id=79476703

This last article is an analysis piece on ABC written by Dr. Jay Bhatt, and Dr. Asha Shahajan. It talks about how misinformation about Covid and especially vaccines are hurting black and latino communities which is making the pandemic worse. They states that according to the CDC, latino adults are twice as likely to contract Covid and 2.3 times more likely to die from it than white people. While black people contract it the same, they are twice as likely to die. A really shocking stat is that 59.4% of white Americans are vaccinated black Americans are only at 9.1% and latino are at 15.9%. They state that this is directly related to a lack of health education and barriers set for people of color in the U.S. As a result, they’ve offered solutions to get these numbers more equal. The first one is meeting these people where they are in their own communities rather than making it difficult to get where they need to be. This could be things like pop-up vaccination sites in better areas for these people rather than very large vaccination centers that require online appointments and phone calls. The next solution is to have trusted messengers for these communities rather than the same faces they see on tv everyday. The next solution is to try as best as possible to stop the misinformation on social media. This is a tall task but it is definitely possible with a true effort. This article felt like an analysis to me rather than opinion because of the facts it provided about these communities and people and the solutions it offered. They weren’t predicting that these communities would be less vaccinated it was stated, told why this is, and the solutions to this problem.

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