Featured Post

Avira Antivirus Pro - Review 2020 - PCMag India

Image
Avira Antivirus Pro - Review 2020 - PCMag IndiaAvira Antivirus Pro - Review 2020 - PCMag IndiaPosted: 11 Jun 2020 12:00 AM PDTEvery computer needs antivirus protection, and one way companies can support that aim is to provide free antivirus to the masses. But these companies can't survive unless some users shell out their hard-earned cash for paid antivirus utilities. Piling on pro-only tools and components is one way companies encourage upgrading to a paid antivirus. Avira Antivirus Pro adds several components not available to users of Avira Free Security, but they don't really add much value. The biggest reason to pay for it is if you want to use Avira in a commercial setting, which isn't allowed with the free version.Avira's pricing is undeniably on the high side, with a list price of $59.88 per year for one license, $71.88 for three, and $95.88 for five. Admittedly, it seems to be perpetually on sale; just now, the one-license price is discounted to $44.99. That…

Anti-vaccination leaders seize on coronavirus to push resistance to inoculation - The Washington Post

Anti-vaccination leaders seize on coronavirus to push resistance to inoculation - The Washington Post


Anti-vaccination leaders seize on coronavirus to push resistance to inoculation - The Washington Post

Posted: 05 May 2020 05:48 AM PDT

Anti-vaccination protesters have been a visible presence in recent weeks at rallies to end the lockdowns that continue in many states. But beyond the rallies and hand-painted signs, the movement's chief organizers have launched a less confrontational but more far-reaching information campaign. Incorporating the rhetoric honed over years to sow fear of childhood vaccines, they maintain that mandated quarantines are new evidence of government officials' zeal to control individual health-care choices.

"One of the main tenets of the marketing of mandatory vaccination has been fear. And never have we seen fear exploited in the way that we do now with the coronavirus infection," Andrew Wakefield, the former British doctor and founder of the modern anti-vaccine movement, said at a three-day teleconference last week. "I think what we have reached is a situation where — I hope we've reached a situation where — the public are now sufficiently skeptical. "

As the pandemic kills nearly 2,000 people every day in the United States, Wakefield — whose medical license was revoked after he published a study, since identified as fraudulent, that linked autism with the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine — said the coronavirus is "no worse" than seasonal influenza.

"We are seeing a destruction of the economy, a destruction of people and families … and unprecedented violations of health freedom," Wakefield said, speaking to viewers on a screen split with a poster advertising his new film agitating against vaccines. "And it's all based upon a fallacy. "

The new push by prominent anti-vaccine activists — including Wakefield and Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who also spoke at the conference — worries vaccination proponents, who are already contending with a steep drop in vaccination rates as families anxious about contracting the coronavirus stay away from pediatricians' offices.

"I've watched the leaders of the anti-vaccine movement scare parents for years. And in this moment, when parents are more scared than ever, they're profiting off of it," said Erica DeWald, director of advocacy at the nonprofit group Vaccinate Your Family. "Basically, the anti-vaccine leaders are telling their followers, 'This is not real, this is not a concern for you, if you're healthy, if you eat well, if you sleep enough, you will be fine. And this is once again a gateway for the government to force vaccines on to you and your children.' "

The range of views within the movement on the current pandemic was on display last week at the "Health Freedom Summit," where Wakefield and Kennedy spoke. The virtual conference, portions of which were viewed by The Washington Post, featured dozens of speakers and devoted one full day to the coronavirus. Limited access to the seminars and materials was offered free, with full access for $69.

Alana Newman, who hosted the online summit, said in an interview that she organized it with a friend using her savings and that outside groups or funders were not involved. She said she became concerned that the coronavirus case numbers were being exaggerated by the news media and that the virus may have been designed and released in order to benefit vaccine makers.

"We're just trying to do what's best for our kids," said Newman, who lives in southwest Louisiana. "We're not making a billion dollars off this. "

Some speakers promoted unproven treatments or preventive measures, such as zinc, vitamin supplements and sun exposure. Others speculated that the symptoms attributed to the virus could have other causes, such as plutonium falling to earth from destroyed satellites. Still others warned without evidence of forcible inoculations of unwilling Americans with an eventual coronavirus vaccine.

A recurrent focus of the presenters was Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates, who has been a prominent voice on public health policy amid the pandemic and is funding efforts to track, treat and ultimately cure the disease. Gates has been the target of conspiracy theories that he helped create the pandemic and plans to use it for financial gain and to develop a worldwide system of human surveillance.

Kennedy touched on the latter subject in his talk, discussing what he said were Gates's efforts to develop "an injectable chip" and "subdermal biometric tattoos" that would enable the tracking of human movements.

"A health authority, the police, whatever, will be able to read your health records," he said. "It's like a bar code. "

After sharing a story about friends who had been surfing in Malibu the previous day, when beachgoers were being ticketed by the police for violating state quarantine restrictions, Kennedy mused on a dark future.

"Are we headed for a world where Microsoft is going to be able to follow us?" he said. "What if we live in a world where the police will not have to go to the beach, where they will be able to follow on your cellphone or your biometrics, and see that you went to the beach, and then just take $1,000 out of your salary from the cryptocurrency that your payroll check is going into?"

He ended with a plea for listeners to share their emails with his advocacy group, Children's Health Defense.

In an interview, Kennedy said he was not arguing that Gates helped engineer the virus, but does believe the Seattle billionaire is "using this emergency, this crisis, to promote his interests." Kennedy said there are legitimate concerns that initiatives such as contact tracing for coronavirus infections could lead to a more sweeping "surveillance state," and that the negative consequences of quarantine measures are not being balanced against their benefits to public health.

"People keep saying, 'We have to listen to the science,' but what does that mean?" Kennedy said. "Does that mean we have to listen to virologists and ignore economists?"

Physician Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, said anti-vaccination activists' response to the pandemic and social distancing measures jibes with the movement's history of accusing the government of tyrannical health initiatives.

"I think this is consistent with their anti-government stance," said Offit, who has written extensively about the movement and the history of vaccination policies. "I can promise you that even when this [coronavirus] vaccine comes out, even if it's perfect and it's wonderfully safe, they will still say it's causing things that it doesn't cause. "

Louisiana state Rep. Danny McCormick (R), who also spoke at the conference and led a rally in Baton Rouge on Saturday demanding the lifting of quarantine restrictions, said people are newly receptive to warnings of government intrusion as they suffer through the battered economy.

"Government overreach has destroyed the greatest economy in the history of the world in a matter of weeks," said McCormick, who is pushing a bill that would require schools to inform parents of their right to opt out of vaccines. "That's of great concern to people. "

While it is hard to determine the extent to which the broader public will welcome such messages, one measure can be found in the audience for the Health Freedom Summit at which McCormick spoke.

Newman, the conference organizer, said it had more than 30,000 registrants.

Read more:

Get Ready for a Covid-19 Vaccine Information War - The New York Times

Posted: 15 May 2020 12:51 PM PDT

The other night, midway through watching a clip from "Plandemic" — a documentary that went viral on social media last week, spreading baseless lies and debunked nonsense about the coronavirus to millions of Americans overnight — I had a terrifying thought:

What if we get a Covid-19 vaccine and half the country refuses to take it?

It occurred to me that all the misinformation we've seen so far — the false rumors that 5G cellphone towers fuel the coronavirus, that drinking bleach or injecting UV rays can cure it, that Dr. Anthony Fauci is part of an anti-Trump conspiracy — may be just the warm-up act for a much bigger information war when an effective vaccine becomes available to the public. This war could pit public health officials and politicians against an anti-vaccination movement that floods social media with misinformation, conspiracy theories and propaganda aimed at convincing people that the vaccine is a menace rather than a lifesaving, economy-rescuing miracle.

Scariest of all? It could actually work.

I've been following the anti-vaccine community on and off for years, watching its members operate in private Facebook groups and Instagram accounts, and have found that they are much more organized and strategic than many of their critics believe. They are savvy media manipulators, effective communicators and experienced at exploiting the weaknesses of social media platforms. (Just one example: Shortly after Facebook and YouTube began taking down copies of "Plandemic" for violating their rules, I saw people in anti-vaccine groups editing it in subtle ways to evade the platforms' automated enforcement software and reposting it.)

In short, the anti-vaxxers have been practicing for this. And I'm worried that they will be unusually effective in sowing doubts about a Covid-19 vaccine for several reasons.

First, because of the pandemic's urgency, any promising Covid-19 vaccine is likely to be fast-tracked through the testing and approval process. It may not go through years of clinical trials and careful studies of possible long-term side effects, the way other drugs do. That could create an opening for anti-vaccine activists to claim that it is untested and dangerous, and to spin reasonable concerns about the vaccine into widespread, unfounded fears about its safety.

Second, if a vaccine does emerge, there is a good chance that leading health organizations like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation or the World Health Organization will have a hand in producing or distributing it. If that's the case, anti-vaccine activists, who have been crusading against these groups for years, will have plenty of material stockpiled to try to discredit them. They are already taking aim at Mr. Gates with baseless conspiracy theories claiming that he created and is trying to profit from the virus. These theories will be amplified, and the attempts to discredit leading virus research efforts will intensify as the vaccine nears.

Third, if and when a Covid-19 vaccine is approved for widespread use, people may be required to take it before being allowed to fly on certain airlines, attend certain schools or enter certain businesses. That's a good idea, public health-wise, but it would play into some of the worst fears of the anti-vaccine movement.

Image
Credit...Etienne Laurent/EPA, via Shutterstock

Mandatory vaccination has been an especially potent talking point for anti-vaccine activists, some of whom have rebranded themselves "pro-choice" when it comes to vaccines. And years of battling states and school districts over mandatory vaccine policies have given them a playbook for creating a tangle of legal roadblocks and damaging publicity campaigns.

I wanted to understand if my fears about a vaccine-related information war were valid, so I reached out to Neil Johnson and Rhys Leahy, two researchers at George Washington University. On Wednesday, their study of the online anti-vaccine movement was published in the science journal Nature.

The study, which mapped the vaccine conversation on Facebook during the 2019 measles outbreak, found that there were nearly three times as many active anti-vaccination communities as pro-vaccination communities. In addition, they found that while pro-vaccine pages tended to have more followers, anti-vaccine pages were faster-growing.

"We expected to find a strong core of 'vanilla' science — people saying that vaccines are good for you — but that's not what we found at all," Mr. Johnson told me. "We found a real struggle online, where the public health establishment and its supporters are almost fighting in the wrong place."

The researchers found that Facebook pages pushing accurate pro-vaccine information were mostly clustered in an insular group, while the anti-vaccine pages treated vaccine resistance as a kind of political campaign, and used different messages to reach different types of undecided "voters." A page promoting holistic health remedies might start seeding doubts about vaccines among liberal yoga moms, while a page promoting resistance to government-mandated vaccines might appeal to conservatives and libertarians.

"Public health advocacy groups tend to be monolithic, sending one message" that vaccines are safe and effective, Ms. Leahy said. "The anti-vax movement is really diverse."

There is some reason for hope. Recent surveys have suggested that most Americans would take a Covid-19 vaccine if one were available today. Even politicians who have expressed skepticism about vaccines in the past, including President Trump, are rooting for one that can prevent the disease. And some public health experts I spoke to said public pressure to end the pandemic and return to normal life might overpower anti-vaccine activism.

  • Frequently Asked Questions and Advice

    Updated May 20, 2020

    • How can I protect myself while flying?

      If air travel is unavoidable, there are some steps you can take to protect yourself. Most important: Wash your hands often, and stop touching your face. If possible, choose a window seat. A study from Emory University found that during flu season, the safest place to sit on a plane is by a window, as people sitting in window seats had less contact with potentially sick people. Disinfect hard surfaces. When you get to your seat and your hands are clean, use disinfecting wipes to clean the hard surfaces at your seat like the head and arm rest, the seatbelt buckle, the remote, screen, seat back pocket and the tray table. If the seat is hard and nonporous or leather or pleather, you can wipe that down, too. (Using wipes on upholstered seats could lead to a wet seat and spreading of germs rather than killing them.)

    • What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

      Common symptoms include fever, a dry cough, fatigue and difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. Some of these symptoms overlap with those of the flu, making detection difficult, but runny noses and stuffy sinuses are less common. The C.D.C. has also added chills, muscle pain, sore throat, headache and a new loss of the sense of taste or smell as symptoms to look out for. Most people fall ill five to seven days after exposure, but symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as many as 14 days.

    • How many people have lost their jobs due to coronavirus in the U.S.?

      Over 38 million people have filed for unemployment since March. One in five who were working in February reported losing a job or being furloughed in March or the beginning of April, data from a Federal Reserve survey released on May 14 showed, and that pain was highly concentrated among low earners. Fully 39 percent of former workers living in a household earning $40,000 or less lost work, compared with 13 percent in those making more than $100,000, a Fed official said.

    • Is 'Covid toe' a symptom of the disease?

      There is an uptick in people reporting symptoms of chilblains, which are painful red or purple lesions that typically appear in the winter on fingers or toes. The lesions are emerging as yet another symptom of infection with the new coronavirus. Chilblains are caused by inflammation in small blood vessels in reaction to cold or damp conditions, but they are usually common in the coldest winter months. Federal health officials do not include toe lesions in the list of coronavirus symptoms, but some dermatologists are pushing for a change, saying so-called Covid toe should be sufficient grounds for testing.

    • Should I wear a mask?

      The C.D.C. has recommended that all Americans wear cloth masks if they go out in public. This is a shift in federal guidance reflecting new concerns that the coronavirus is being spread by infected people who have no symptoms. Until now, the C.D.C., like the W.H.O., has advised that ordinary people don't need to wear masks unless they are sick and coughing. Part of the reason was to preserve medical-grade masks for health care workers who desperately need them at a time when they are in continuously short supply. Masks don't replace hand washing and social distancing.

    • What should I do if I feel sick?

      If you've been exposed to the coronavirus or think you have, and have a fever or symptoms like a cough or difficulty breathing, call a doctor. They should give you advice on whether you should be tested, how to get tested, and how to seek medical treatment without potentially infecting or exposing others.

    • How can I help?

      Charity Navigator, which evaluates charities using a numbers-based system, has a running list of nonprofits working in communities affected by the outbreak. You can give blood through the American Red Cross, and World Central Kitchen has stepped in to distribute meals in major cities.


"People are seeing the toll of Covid-19 all around," said Kasisomayajula Viswanath, a professor of health communication at the Harvard School of Public Health. "My guess is that if there is a successful vaccine, especially in the absence of treatment, people may discount the anti-vaccine groups."

But public acceptance of a Covid-19 vaccine is far from a sure thing. And seeing platforms like Facebook and YouTube struggle to contain the spread of videos like "Plandemic" makes me worry that when the time comes to persuade billions of people to take a critical coronavirus vaccine, our public health officials and social media companies will be outgunned by a well-oiled anti-vaccine movement that has already polluted the air with misinformation and conspiracy theories.

We can prevent that, but only if we start laying the groundwork before it's too late. Organizations like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the W.H.O. need to understand the dynamics of online anti-vaccination communities and start waging a hearts-and-minds campaign to restore faith in the medical establishment while a vaccine is being developed. Social media companies need to take the threat of vaccine-related misinformation seriously and devote tremendous resources to stopping its spread. And those of us who believe in vaccines need to realize that we may not be in the majority for long and do everything we can to reach the people in our lives who might be susceptible to anti-vaccine propaganda.

To recover from this pandemic, we need to mobilize a pro-vaccine movement that is as devoted, as internet-savvy and as compelling as the anti-vaccine movement is for its adherents. We need to do it quickly, with all the creativity and urgency of the scientists who are developing the vaccine itself. Millions of lives and trillions of dollars in economic activity may depend not just on producing a vaccine, but on persuading people to accept it.

Comments

Popular Posts

System detected an overrun of a stack-based buffer in this application [FIX] - Windows Report

Valorant anti-cheat lead answers many questions on Reddit - Millenium US